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Arsenal target Watkins on shortlist of strikers

It looked to many as though Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette would leave the club in the summer, with Atletico Madrid understood to have been long linked to the striker who appears to have gone stale at the Emirates Stadium.

Similar to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is also on the wrong side of 30 – an age when many players at Arsenal have traditionally started to fade, this appears to have signalled Gunners boss Mikel Arteta to do something about it.

Arsenal target Watkins on shortlist of strikers

While it is likely that at least one of the two aforementioned players will leave, it seems that Arsenal have been putting plans in place, with a shortlist of strikers reportedly drawn up that suggests Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins is one name that is on there.

In addition to Watkins, Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin is also understood to be on the list, who may prove tougher to prise away.

 

Both suit Arteta’s new policy

What was clear from Arsenal’s summer spending that saw them splash out nearly £150 million; more than any other Premier League club, is that Arteta plans to build his new squad with a clear emphasis on exciting youth talent. This has been made evident so far this season, with the Spaniard placing faith in the fledgling talents of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe, both of whom have been integral so far.

Meanwhile, Watkins and Calvert-Lewin have shown just how prolific they can be in front of goal; both of them enjoying fruitful seasons last term. Although it is unlikely that any personnel will be signed in January, Arteta is keen to be prepared in case Lacazette does leave and has instructed director of football, Edu to start making tentative enquiries.

With Watkins aged 25 and Calvert-Lewin 24, both players fit Arteta’s desired profile and have proven that they can cut it in the Premier League and would hope to emulate club legend Ian Wright, who was Arsenal’s last successful English striker to run out for the Gunners.

Signing both players is highly unlikely, even if Aubameyang decides to leave; they are essentially the same profile of player, which would leave one of them on the bench. Not to mention that they would likely cost in the region of £40 million apiece.