Arsenal watched on as Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku struggled away at Manchester City providing plenty of warning to Mikel Arteta should he land Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic.
Chelsea lumbered to a 1-0 defeat at the Etihad stadium where Pep Guardiola’s side barely needed to get out of second gear. It was a wildly different type of match than the battle at the Emirates on New Years Day.
Thomas Tuchel’s side had very few chances with the biggest falling to Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku. Since scoring on his debut against Arsenal, Lukaku has been unable to press onwards with the weight of the mage transfer fee looking like it is becoming an ever-increasing burden.
Furthermore, his head coach has tweaked the Blues’ system only hindering his impact on the game more. Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has plenty to analyse regarding his own striker problem and seeing the former Inter Milan forward struggle will provide plenty of warning to the Spaniard in his own pursuit of a new forward.
Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic remains linked with a move to Arsenal and football.london understands that club technical director Edu is doing ‘everything possible’ to push a move through this winter.
However, the striker shares many characteristics with Lukaku. Their lofty and physical frames, strong left-footed strike and their ability to create space for themselves as loan forwards and link-up play allows some close parallels to be drawn.
Against City, Lukaku was an isolated figure however for the most part. The Belgian fed of little service with Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech operating as the supporting cast.
Even with the introduction of Timo Werner, Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi, Lukaku was unable to truly threaten.
Should Arsenal secure the services of Vlahovic this winter, in games against better opposition, Arteta must find a way of not repeating the errors shown by Tuchel and Lukaku.
Arsenal themselves have seen Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang become isolated himself in these types of games. The demands Arteta placed on Alexandre Lacazette during the clash with City however changed the Gunners’ competitiveness in the fixture greatly.
The Frenchman often dropped into the spaces between City’s defence and midfield to receive the ball and link play.
Vlahovic, whilst not regularly asked to do this for La Viola, has shown to be more than capable of holding his runs smartly to create time and space for a shooting opportunity.
At 21 years of age, Dusan Vlahovic has plenty of development to go and Arteta has shown through his work with the likes of Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard that he can help take players’ games to that next level.
Lukaku becomes the template of how to avoid wasting the heavy investment it would take to bring in a forward of the Serbian’s potential calibre. Something which Arsenal supporters are sure to enjoy watching unfold if the club can pull off the deal for Vlahovic.