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Four forwards Arsenal could target after Sesko snub

Arsenal want to sign a centre-forward this summer as the Gunners look to take the next step in their pursuit of the Premier League title.

The lack of a reliable goalscorer at number nine has been labelled a problem that needs to be solved, following consecutive runners-up finishes to Manchester City.

Mikel Arteta had identified Benjamin Sesko as a transfer target and the Slovenian striker fits the profile of player the Gunners are after, though the 21-year-old has decided to turn down interest from England in favour of signing a new deal at RB Leipzig.

So where next for Arsenal? We’ve looked at four alternatives Arsenal should consider in their striker search.

Victor Osimhen – Napoli

Victor Osimhen is expected to leave Napoli this summer after the Italian side missed out on Champions League qualification. A disastrous defence of their drought-breaking Serie A title saw Napoli end the 2023-24 campaign 10th in the table and the sale of their star striker appears likely as the summer window prepares to open.

Osimhen was the league’s leading scorer as Napoli won a first league title in 33 years in 2022-23 and has scored 76 goals in 133 appearances for I Partenopei since arriving from Lille. Named African Footballer of the Year in 2023, there are few forwards of Osimhen’s quality available on the market and a release clause at Napoli makes the Nigerian attainable.

However, the reported price of that release clause €130m (£109m) makes a deal difficult for Arsenal, who have spent heavily in recent windows. Sales are required to fund significant business this summer, with Arteta also keen to bring in an athletic central midfielder and left-back.

Emile Smith Rowe, Fabio Vieira, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah could all move on to raise funds, though Arsenal will need to move quickly with Paris Saint-Germain – in search of a Kylian Mbappe replacement – and Al-Ahli chasing a deal for Osimhen. The 25-year-old appears tailor-made for the Premier League and has been vocal about his desire to play in England.

Alexander Isak – Newcastle

On more than one occasion, Alexander Isak has been compared to Thierry Henry. For Arsenal fans, that might just be enough to convince them he is the right man for the job. The Swedish striker was sensational at times with Newcastle last season, becoming the first player since Alan Shearer to score 20 league goals in a top-flight campaign for the club.

He averaged a goal every 107 minutes in the Premier League in 2023-24 and boasts a blend of speed, stature and elegance that would suit Arteta’s side. However, persistent injury problems have plagued Isak since he arrived at St James’ Park and that would be deemed a concern ahead of executing a deal that could cost more than £100m.

Speculation continues to surround Newcastle’s need to make a big sale to remain compliant with the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability rules, though the Magpies would be reluctant to lose Isak.

Viktor Gyokeres – Sporting Lisbon

Premier League clubs continue to kick themselves at missing out on Viktor Gyokeres, a player who has taken his game to new heights since swapping Coventry City for Sporting Lisbon last summer.

The Sweden international scored 43 goals in 50 games during an extraordinary first season in the Portuguese capital, leading the Primeira Liga for goals (29) and ranking third for assists (10) as Ruben Amorim’s team won the title.

Gyokeres is all-action, mobile, and ruthless in front of goal, ranking among Portugal’s top-performing players for goal-creating actions (1st), successful take-ons (3rd), progressive carries (5th), carries into the penalty area (1st) and progressive passes received (1st).

Sporting will demand his release clause of €100m (£84.2m) be met in full for him to leave the Estádio José Alvalade.

Artem Dovbyk – Girona

A cheaper alternative on this list, Artem Dovbyk took Spanish football by storm this season. Girona spent just €7m (£5.8m) to sign Dovbyk from SC Dnipro-1 after a record of 53 goals in 84 games for the Ukrainian side and the 26-year-old has paid that fee back handsomely.

Dovbyk scored 24 league goals to win the Pichichi Trophy as La Liga’s leading scorer, becoming the first non-Barcelona or Real Madrid player to win the award since Diego Forlan in 2008/09.

His goals fired Girona to a surprise Champions League qualification and Europe’s top clubs are circling for a player whose release clause stands at just €40m (£33.6m). In an inflated transfer market, that could represent a steal for an Arsenal team searching for presence in the final third.

However, Atletico Madrid and Napoli are pushing for a deal.

Read – Five must watch games in the Euro 2024 group stage

See more – Five Pep Guardiola proteges in charge of top clubs next season

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