Emirates Stadium switch attention from Man United striker Wayne Rooney to Italian international.
Arsenal may well have all but secured a deal to sign Real Madrid striker Gonazalo Higuain but this will not stop Arsene Wenger from pursuing another major attacking addition.
CaughtOffside understands that whilst there is growing speculation that the North London club are keen on registering their interest in Man United striker Wayne Rooney it appears that Arsene Wenger has set his sights on AC Milan youngster Stephan El Shaarawy as a potential strike partner for incoming Argentine Higuain.
AC Milan are set for a major summer squad re-building exercise and Rossoneri vice-president Adriano Galliani has been at pains to state that the Italian international striker is not ‘unsellable’ and having seen the Serie A side sell stars Thaigo Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic last summer the Gunners boss may well feel he could tempt the San Siro side into considering a £30m offer for the highly rated 20 year old.
Indeed a move for a more youthful option is clearly more akin to Wenger’s transfer policy and the Arsenal manager is acutely aware that whilst his side could fork out a sum that could seal the signing of England international Rooney he is less likely to convince his board to foot his reported £250k a week wage demands, being more than double what the club’s current top earners receive.
Wenger has tracked El Shaarawy for some time and has been told that Arsenal are on sound enough financial footing to be able to make such a sizable offer for the Italian, even after forking out the £22m needed to sign Higuain.
Whilst £30m would be considered a mammoth sum to Arsenal it’s by no means an unusual sum when considered against the overall backdrop of the current inflated transfer market. Chelsea invested a similar sum in Eden Hazard and Wenger is thought to rate El Shaarawy in the same bracket and after an excellent season in Italy’s top tier in 2012/13 it’s hard to disagree.
El Shaarawy was thrown in at the deep end to sum degree as AC Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri looked to the former Genoa man to fill Ibrahimovic’s boots up front and it’s a role the starlet forward thrived in.
‘The Pharaoh’ as he is dubbed by the AC Milan faithful move than delivered the goods, scoring 19 goals in all competitions and in the second half of the campaign formed an excellent understanding with January signing Mario Balotelli.
Arsene Wenger is well aware of the financial benefits of bringing in a young talent who’s sell on value can only increase, the French boss had similarly targeted Mario Gotze and was ready to make a similar size bid for the German international before it became clear that the Borussia Dortmund midfielder had his heart set on a move to join Bayern Munich.
Arsenal see El Shaarawy as an infinitely bankable asset, both on and off the field of play, and with big contract deals with Puma and the Emirates sewn up the club’s money men believe a move for the AC Milan man is a shrewd long term gamble.
With the likes of Nicklas Bendtner, Gervinho, Park Chu-Young and Marouane Chamakh set to leave this summer Arsene Wenger is hopeful of lining up a top class attack that would see Higuain and El Shaarawy form a fearsome strike pairing, with Olivier Giroud as a solid back-up option.
The fact that El Shaarawy is more than capable of making an impact in a wide attacking role is seen as an added bonus and yet more of a reason why Arsene Wenger is willing to make a stellar bid for the former Genoa forward.