Arsenal also in for Ivorian target man.
Arsenal could be set to join the chase for Liverpool target Lacina Traore as they seek a new striker this January, CaughtOffside can reveal.
The Gunners are currently short of options upfront and face a crisis if in-form striker Olivier Giroud gets injured, with only Nicklas Bendtner and untried youngster Yaya Sanogo waiting in reserve.
This saw Arsenal linked to a whole host of big-name strikers during the summer transfer window, though they missed out on some ambitious targets, including Gonzalo Higuain, who instead joined Napoli from Real Madrid, and Luis Suarez, whom Liverpool did not want to sell to a rival.
Arsene Wenger is expected to try again for several targets upfront when the transfer window re-opens in January, and the club have already been linked with the likes of Fernando Llorente and Demba Ba as possible recruits in that position.
However, it has now emerged that the Gunners will go head-to-head with Liverpool for Anzhi Makhachkala’s Ivory Coast forward Traore, who could be available as the next in a list of several big-name players the Russian club have sold in recent months after encountering sudden financial problems.
A powerful 6 ft 8 target man, Traore could give Arsenal something a little different upfront, and make them more of a danger in the air, with his fine ability at beating defenders to headers. The 23-year-old also boasts a fine scoring record for his club, with 13 goals in 28 appearances, as well as 4 in 6 for the Ivory Coast national side.
Liverpool had made him one of their top targets this January in case more bids come in for Suarez, as Real Madrid are reportedly plotting another attempt to snatch the talented Uruguayan away from the Merseyside giants, and the likes of Juventus and Galatasaray have also been monitoring Traore’s situation.
With so many clubs chasing this promising talent, it is unclear where he will eventually end up, but Arsenal’s recent willingness to spend big could see them edge out their rivals for a player who would no doubt add depth and improve the overall quality of this current side, who will be hoping to maintain their fine start to the season that has seen them emerge as surprise title contenders.
Bids of around £15m could be enough to tempt Anzhi to sell, and Arsenal will be happy to go as high as £20m if they enter into a bidding war with Liverpool or any other club.
Traore could join his former team-mates Samuel Eto’o and Willian in the Premier League this season, with the pair both leaving Anzhi for Chelsea in the summer.