Mikel Arteta may be forced into £77m swoop after concerns raised in Arsenal’s Watford win

Arteta gives update on Nketiah's contract negotiations with Arsenal

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If experience is to underpin a second Arsenal transfer window onslaught, then Mikel Arteta and Edu were witness to a first-class demonstration of the exact kind of experience to avoid. Their lecture began after seven minutes when Bukayo Saka’s opening goal was immediately ruled out for offside.

Youngster Nuno Tavares clinically intercepted a Watford through ball, and beautifully dinked a wonderful through ball to the veteran Alexandre Lacazette. Showing excellent experience, Lacazette swivelled before lofting a ball which was pushed into the air the air by Watford’s Ben Foster, whose save fell kindly into the path of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The net should have bulged. Maybe it would have a couple of seasons ago. The former Borussia Dortmund forward fumbled the ball onto Bukayo Saka who swept home from close range.

Unfortunately, Saka was way ahead of Foster and therefore offside. Saka, empowered by Arteta’s trust, would not have hesitated in Aubameyang’s position, and the Arsenal captain would have likely stayed onside if he was in Saka’s. Nevertheless, the 20-year-old should not have been needed to put the ball into the back of the net.

As it did with Fernando Torres at Chelsea, when an experienced striker loses his touch and suddenly finds previously easy chances difficult, then it is very hard to come back.

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Demonstration two came after 36 minutes when Watford’s Danny Rose showed anything but his experience when he clobbered Lacazette in the penalty area and gave away a needless penalty. Up stepped Aubameyang, a striker who has converted 30 penalties over the course of his career, but his spot-kick was tame and Foster produced impressive reactions to save the spot-kick.

Rose appeared to be an astute summer signing by Watford. After-all he has played Champions League football, been part of European Championship and World Cup squads, yet he nearly gifted Arsenal a first half opener following a needless foul. In the summer, the Gunners set out on a transfer mission to stockade Arteta’s squad with players showing promise, good form, and longevity. It was a bold, daring, and at times, inconceivable strategy, which left many of football’s elite baffled.

However, who can argue with the £150m outlay on Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi-Lokonga, Aaron Ramsdale, and Martin Odegaard.

Five out of six of their summer signings all started for the second consecutive match, but it was academy star Emile Smith-Rowe who fires Arsenal ahead. With a swish of his magical right foot, he whipped the Gunners into the lead in the 57th minute.

His third consecutive goal was a crisp striker propelled by the irresistible arrogance and confidence of youth which is flowing through this Arsenal side.

In other words, it was the complete contrast to the stiff and flat effort Aubameyang mustered from 12 yards. The Gabon star’s electrifying speed and ice cool finishing has slowly dissipated since the Gunners’ horrific campaign last season.

And Arteta and Edu are already putting together contingency plans, as Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio reported the Gunners have entered talks with Fiorentina to sign lethal striker Dusan Vlahovic.

At 21-years-old, the Serbian encapsulates the blueprint of Arsenal’s summer transfer strategy, except his purported asking price of around £77m would take a very substantial slice of any upcoming transfer strategy.

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It’s also believed the predatory forward, who has eight goals in 12 Serie A appearances this season, is still considering his options.

Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur are also reportedly courting Vlahovic, and a bidding war could be on the horizon.

However, with Lacazette’s contract expiring next season, and Aubameyang’s waning form, Arsenal may believe Vlahovic is a necessary luxury in the very same way Ben White’s £54m fee was.

Form and momentum were as pivotal to Arsenal’s business as longevity in the summer.

And with Arsenal knocking on the door of Champions League football, the Serbian hitman may be seen as the man to further propel the Gunners’ momentum.

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