Mikel Arteta has refused to comment on reports linking Dusan Vlahovic with Arsenal but he is insistent that they can still attract the “best players in the world”.
Vlahovic has been heavily linked with a move away from Florentina of late. It was reported on Tuesday that Arsenal are “ready to meet” the striker’s demands in a deal worth £150m.
The 21-year-old has been in superb form for the Italian side this season. He has scored 18 goals from his 22 appearances across all competitions.
Arsenal are yet to make any signings this month but they are thought to be in the market for new recruits.
As quoted by BBC Sport, Arteta declined to be drawn on Arsenal’s reported interest in Vlahovic:
“I’m really sorry to disappoint you but you know I’m not going to be discussing any transfer rumours,” said Arteta.
“What I really want this month is that we have as many players fit and healthy, and we do as much as possible with these players. After that we have a strategy and we will do that when possible.
“Historically, this club has targeted the best players in the world and the best players have always been attracted to Arsenal.
“That situation hasn’t changed. It is a big advantage for us.”
The Gunners travel to face Liverpool in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on Thursday night.
Arteta has revealed that Arsenal’s issue over player availability is “volatile and uncertain”:
“It’s extremely volatile and uncertain. In the last week or so we lost so many players for many reasons and we are trying to adapt to that.
“There have been different reasons – some injuries, some Covid and some are at the Africa Cup of Nations.”
On Emile Smith Rowe: “The importance he has in the team is without a doubt really positive. But he’s had an issue he’s been carrying which has affected his ability to train.”
Arteta also spoke on reports linking Pablo Mari and Eddie Nketiah with moves away from Arsenal:
“Every situation is different. There’s a lot of factors that make that decision at the moment. Everybody here is involved.”
On Nketiah, Arteta added: “He’s our player and he’s going to stay with us.”
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