Arsenal have two Premier League forwards on a list of four candidates to replace Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang according to reports. Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins and Everton frontman Dominic Calvert-Lewin are both popular with the Gunners.
Calvert-Lewin, valued at Â£ 40.5million by Transfermarkt, has scored three goals in as many Premier League games this season but has been out since September with toe and quadriceps injuries.
The 24-year-old enjoyed the best campaign of his career last season, scoring 21 goals in 39 appearances in all competitions at Goodison Park, including 16 league goals.
Watkins, valued at Â£ 31.5million by Transfermarkt, is slightly older at 26 but has also had a solid 18 since joining Aston Villa from Brentford.
England’s Calvert-Lewin teammate has scored 16 times in his debut season at Villa Park, including 14 in the league, and has five of 16 for the Villans so far this year.
ESPN say the pair are admired by Arsenal as they prepare to replace Aubameyang with the Gabonese international’s future in the Emirates, which is the subject of growing speculation.
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Disciplinary issues have seen manager Mikel Arteta remove Aubameyang from the club’s captain position and the Gunners are not opposed to offers for the 32-year-old in January.
The report says Arsenal are already making plans for the African’s eventual departure, with Calvert-Lewin and Watkins being just two options they are considering.
Both would surely cost more than their Transfermarkt values ââgiven that Watkins cost Villa Â£ 28million a year and a half ago, and all costs for Calvert-Lewin could exceed Â£ 50million.
ESPN says Arteta is a huge fan of Watkins’ attributes and his versatility in particular, given that he can play multiple offensive roles.
Arsenal have not made contact with Villa over the player with a move in January considered highly unlikely, although a summer plunge for the 25-year-old is possible.
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The north London club are also set to lose Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah at the end of the season, with the pair’s contracts set to expire.
And as they keep their options open, Arsenal have also shortlisted Alexander Isak of Real Sociedad and Dusan Vlahovic of Fiorentina.
“We are expecting some activity because there are players and some loans that we have to hopefully finish,” said the Spain coach.
“But it depends. It’s – as we all know – a very complicated market, and it’s a short window, so we’ll see what happens.”
Club legend Lee Dixon, meanwhile, made it clear he would like to see Calvert-Lewin at Arsenal, telling the Daily mail: “I’m pretty sure Arteta has his own idea of ââwho he should have up front, and I’m pretty sure given what happened it won’t be Aubameyang.
âWould I like to see Calvert-Lewin at Arsenal? I think so. I think you’d be hard pressed to get one of the best forwards as [Erling] Haaland.
“It would be a step forward for Calvert-Lewin, without disrespecting Everton. I like him, I think he has the potential to be as good as he wants. He’s fit and athletic, he’s strong and good in the air and a good finisher. I would take him. “