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Serie A striker emerges as Arsenal’s Sesko alternative

Serie A striker emerges as Arsenal’s Sesko alternative
Serie A striker emerges as Arsenal’s Sesko alternative

With their pursuit of Benjamin Sesko now at an end, Arsenal’s primary alternative signing at centre-forward appears to be Bologna’s Joshua Zirkzee.

BOLOGNA, ITALY - APRIL 01: Joshua Zirkzee of Bologna FC celebrates victory in the Serie A TIM match between Bologna FC and US Salernitana at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara on April 01, 2024 in Bologna, Italy. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)
BOLOGNA, ITALY: Joshua Zirkzee of Bologna FC celebrates victory in the Serie A TIM match between Bologna FC and US Salernitana at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara on April 01, 2024. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)

On Tuesday morning, news broke that Arsenal’s pursuit of RB Leipzig’s Benjamin Sesko is now over, or at least on hold.

Sesko has reportedly agreed a new contract with his current club, and The Athletic claim it will be announced on Wednesday if approved by the board.

As for where Arsenal might turn next in their pursuit of a striker, it seems Joshua Zirkzee of Bologna is a leading contender.

BOLOGNA, ITALY - FEBRUARY 14: Joshua Zirkzee of Bologna FC celebrates following the team's victory in the Serie A TIM match between Bologna FC and ACF Fiorentina - Serie A TIM at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara on February 14, 2024 in Bologna, Italy. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)
BOLOGNA, ITALY: Joshua Zirkzee of Bologna FC celebrates following the team’s victory in the Serie A TIM match between Bologna FC and ACF Fiorentina – Serie A TIM at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara on February 14, 2024. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)

Arsenal have been linked with Zirkzee for a while, with The Telegraph reporting in February that the Gunners were considering a summer move.

That interest had seemed a lot less likely to materialise into a transfer earlier this week, with reports in the Italian media that Zirkzee had agreed personal terms with AC Milan.

But while it’s not a done deal, the race remains open, and Sky Sports reported on Sunday that Arsenal remain interested in spite of Milan’s strong pursuit.

In a new update on Tuesday morning, The Athletic then confirmed that the Gunners are continuing to keep tabs on Zirkzee.

BOLOGNA, ITALY - FEBRUARY 14: Joshua Zirkzee of Bologna FC reacts during the Serie A TIM match between Bologna FC and ACF Fiorentina - Serie A TIM at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara on February 14, 2024 in Bologna, Italy. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)
BOLOGNA, ITALY: Joshua Zirkzee of Bologna FC reacts during the Serie A TIM match between Bologna FC and ACF Fiorentina – Serie A TIM at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara on February 14, 2024. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)

Zirkzee has a £34m release clause, making a deal very affordable, though those Italian reports suggest the player’s agent – Kia Joorabchian – is hoping for a large agent fee.

That agent fee is seemingly one of the reasons a deal with Milan isn’t already done, with the Serie A club looking to reduce it before committing to the transfer.

But their delay may now allow Arsenal back into the race, following Sesko’s decision to remain in Germany.

23-year-old Zirkzee provided 19 goal contributions in 37 games for Bologna this season as they finished fifth in Serie A and reached the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia.