Exciting Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic looks set to be on the way out of the club next summer after rejecting a contract extension.
Fiorentina president Rocco Commisso had tried to tie Vlahovic down to a new long-term deal worth £35m. However, he decided not to extend his stay beyond 2023 causing Commisso to reportedly up the club’s asking price to £77m.
Dusan Vlahovic could be on his way out of Fiorentina after rejecting a contract extension
Only Cristiano Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku and Atalanta frontman Luis Muriel managed more goals in Serie A last season, as he netted 21 times in 37 games.
And the Serbian international is confident about his abilities, with ex-Partizan Belgrade team-mate Valeri Bojinov claiming that Vlahovic once described himself as the ‘new Zlatan Ibrahimovic’, as reported by Football Italia.
Sportsmail takes a look at which clubs need him and what has been said about the youngster.
Vlahovic’s refusal of a lucrative new deal comes at an opportune moment for Gunners boss Mikel Arteta who could look to replace Alexandre Lacazette.
The 30-year-old Frenchman looks set for an Emirates exit as his contract with the Gunners expires at the end of the season.
Arsenal also have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, though the former Golden Boot winner will be entering the final year of his contract next season and will turn 33 at the end of the campaign.
Alexandre Lacazette’s potential Arsenal exit could open the door for Vlahovic to join the club
Arteta will be keen to get a young striker through the doors, and the Gunners have also been linked to England internationals Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ollie Watkins as they ramp up their search for potential replacements.
Should the Gunners face fierce competition for Vlahovic’s signature then it could be important for them to qualify for Europe next season.
Having finished eighth in the Premier League last time around, there is no European football at the Emirates this term and that could put the Serbian international off a move if there is a repeat.
Etihad officials are expected to return to the transfer market in January or next summer, after their failed pursuit of Harry Kane in the previous transfer window.
While possessing one of the strongest squads in world football, City will be keen to get a striker through the doors to replace the goals that their all time record scorer Sergio Aguero contributed during his time at the club.
Manchester City could still win the title this season, though games such as last season’s Champions League final defeat, their 2-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain and their goalless draw with Southampton are recent examples where they missed having a natural finisher.
Manchester City remain determined to replace club legend Sergio Aguero going forward
Gazzetta dello Sport claimed that Pep Guardiola’s side ‘dream’ of bringing the Fiorentina star Vlahovic to the club.
The 21-year-old Serbian international is definitely the sort of player that City need and be what they are missing without Aguero.
Though the club could look to alternative options including Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland who will have his release clause kick in next summer.
The north London side were repeatedly linked with Vlahovic over the summer at a time when Harry Kane’s future at the club was uncertain.
Managing director Fabio Paratici saw the younger as a potential replacement for Kane, although the Fiorentina striker elected to remain with his current employers.
With Vlahovic now seemingly on the market, the club could look to dip into the market for the prolific striker.
Tottenham were interested in Vlahovic as a potential replacement for striker Harry Kane
He could be seen as the perfect foil for Kane, though the England international might eye a move away from the club if they were to have another season without a trophy.
Alternatively Spurs could see him as the ideal replacement should Kane get his wish and move elsewhere.
Similar to Arsenal, Vlahovic might prefer a move elsewhere if Tottenham don’t get higher than a Europa Conference League spot for next season.
Atletico Madrid reportedly failed in their pursuit of Vlahovic over the recent summer transfer window.
As reported by Football Espana, they reportedly made a final offer worth €60 million (£51m), plus a further €10 million (£8.5m) in bonuses and 20 percent of a future sale.
Fiorentina turned down the offer but they could be tempted if Atletico make another offer next summer to avoid losing Vlahovic on a free in 2023.
Diego Simeone’s side reportedly saw a bid rejected for Vlahovic during the summer window
Atletico currently have a number of attacking options including Antoine Griezmann who they re-signed on a loan deal including an option to purchase next summer.
They also have Luis Suarez and Matheus Cunha who they also signed in the summer from Hertha Berlin.
Suarez’s contract expires next summer however and if Atletico don’t sign him to a new deal they could be back in the market for a striker.
The Bianconeri were unable to spend big in the summer due to the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic.
They brought in forwards Moise Kean and Kaio Jorge but lost Cristiano Ronaldo who scored 29 goals from 33 Serie A games last season.
Juventus also have Alvaro Morata but it’s unlikely any of their current batch of players will return the high number of goals that Ronaldo provided before his return to Manchester United.
Gazetta dello Sport have reported that Juventus are interested in Vlahovic and could look to repeat their deal for Federico Chiesa by signing the Serbian on a two-year loan deal with an option to buy.
If they were to pursue Vlahovic they would be one of the favourites to land him but whether they would be able to pay a big fee for the player is another question.
Cristiano Ronaldo is a big miss for Juventus after scoring 29 goals in 33 matches last season
So who needs him the most?
Manchester City with their need for a striker are arguably the team that needs Vlahovic the most, despite their heavy expectation of challenging both domestically and in Europe this season.
If anything could hurt them this season or going further forward, then it’s the lack of a prolific goalscorer like Mo Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo or Romelu Lukaku that their rivals possess.
Vlahovic could also be the perfect signing for Tottenham and Arsenal with Kane and Lazazette’s futures up in the air.
There could be a fierce battle for Vlahovic’s signature at the end of the current season
Top clubs across Europe could look to prioritise Haaland, but the Serbian is confident he can join the Norwegian as one of the world’s top forwards.
Vlahovic told La Repubblica as per Goal: ‘I watch him and I try to understand his finishing and how he moves.
‘Then, I focus on my strong points and my weaknesses. It may be presumptuous, but with commitment, I can get there too.’
Serbian boss Dragan Stojkovic has said about the striker: ‘He is only 21 years old and he behaves as if he were 30, which is very positive, it opens the way for him to have a phenomenal career, of which I am convinced and which will be very important in the game of our national team.’
Former Man City forward Valeri Bojinov said Vlahovic would compare himself to Ibrahimovic when he was a a teenager.
Vlahovic believes with ‘commitment’ he can match the levels set by Erling Haaland
Vlahovic once described himself as the ‘Belgrade Zlatan Ibrahimovic’ who is his idol
Bojinov said: ‘He used to tell me “I am a Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Belgrade, I will play for the strongest clubs,” I liked his arrogance. I thought he would become a strong player.
Ibrahimovic has noticed Vlahovic’s talents presenting the young striker with a signed shirt when Fiorentina hosted AC Milan last season.
Vlahovic said as per Football Italia: ‘When we lost 3-2 in Florence, I took the advantage of the fact that he might not be very angry and asked him for the shirt.
‘He signed it for me, we took a photo and wrote the dedication in our language. He told me to continue and never give up. I’m not very good at speaking when I meet an idol.’