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Arsenal Go Head To Head With Tottenham In Battle To Sign Fiorentina Forward Giuseppe Rossi

Both London giants have been scouting the Italian marksman of late. 

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Premier League leaders Arsenal are hoping to be able to steal a march on arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the race to land highly rated Fiorentina front man Giuseppe Rossi when the winter transfer window opens again next month.

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Tottenham have been keeping close tabs on the Italy international for some time now, with the north London club known to be keen to bring Rossi to White Hart Lane at some point in January as chairman Daniel Levy and recently appointed head coach Tim Sherwood look to add more attacking fire power to their forward line at White Hart Lane going forward.

It had been expected that Spurs would follow up that long-running interest in the 26-year-old by making an offer for Rossi at some point over the course of the next few weeks, although following news of their city rivals’ interest in the player too, Levy and Co may now have to bring forward plans to sign the attacker.

And that is because the Gunners have also been closely monitoring the marksman of late with a view to possibly making their own move for Rossi at the turn of the year as Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger assesses the strength of his squad going into the second half of the campaign.

So far, the north Londoners have surprised both their own fans, as well as many neutrals, with just how well they have played in the first half of the season, a campaign that has seen the club end the year both as joint leaders of the Premier League, as well as also qualifying for the knockout phase of Europe’s premier club competition, the Uefa Champions League, after managing to escape from the group of death.

But it is understood that the club’s veteran coach is growing concerned about the number of matches that his squad have been forced to play over the course of the first half of the season, and with the upcoming prospect of an even more demanding fixture schedule to come in the second half of the campaign, Wenger has decided to go against his initial instincts by entering the transfer market next month.

The Frenchman has had a number of bad experiences in the past when it comes to player acquisitions in the winter market, in particular when he splashed out a then club-record fee to lure Russia international playmaker Andrey Arshavin from Zenit St Petersburg to the Emirates in January 2009, only for the player to prove to be an expensive flop.

However, with Wenger believed to now be increasingly confident that his young side can continue their push for trophies on three fronts after Christmas as the club look to finally end their long nine-year wait for silverware, the Gunners head coach has approached chief executive Ivan Gazidis to request he be granted the necessary funds so as to be able to go head to head with Spurs in the battle to sign Rossi in January.

Wenger knows the player well from the three years that Rossi spent with rivals Manchester United in the Premier League between 2004 and 2007 and while that stint at Old Trafford did not go well for the Italian, he still showed enough in his two full campaigns at the Theatre of Dreams to have left a good impression on the Frenchman.

Rossi, who managed to find the back of the net on just the four occasions in total his 14 matches in all competitions during his brief stint in the north west, including just the solitary strike in the Premier League, was then bought by La Liga outfit Villarreal in the summer of 2007 for a fee of 10 million euros after spending loan spells at both Newcastle United followed by Serie A side Parma.

But it was the four-and-half campaigns that the United States-born forward spent with Villarreal that really marked the player out as being one to keep a close eye on going forward, with Rossi managing to net an impressive 82 goals in total in only 192 games in all competitions for the Yellow Submarine between 2007 and 2012.

And that brilliant goalscoring run also included 54 strikes in just 136 league outings for the high-flying Spaniards in what is one of the hardest leagues for a striker to make a name for himself, so much so that Serie A side Fiorentina then splashed out 10m euros on Rossi in order to lure the player to Serie A on a four-year deal in January 2013.

However, the switch to Florence does not appear to have halted Rossi’s appetite for goals though, with the Azzurri star having hit the target 15 times already in his 20 contests for the Italian team, which includes 14 in 18 league games.

The one major stumbling block though to Arsenal being able to land the front man next month remains the whopping 35m euro buyout clause in his current deal at Fiorentina that now runs until June 2017, but the Gunners are said to be very confident of being able to land the star for a significantly smaller fee than that in January.

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