Arsene Wenger is stepping up his search for a striker with Arsenal said to be interested in signing Inter Milan forward Mauro Icardi. The Gunners have seen a number of targets rebuff their advances, with the French manager now turning his attention to the Argentine striker, who has been impressive for the Serie A club in the last two seasons.
According to Italian publication Gazzetta World, Icardi's latest contract demands have put his future at the club in doubt and the Gunners are keen to take advantage of the situation and make a move to bring him to the Emirates Stadium this summer. Napoli are the other club in the hunt for the striker, following reports that Gonzalo Higuain is looking for a move away with Juventus and Arsenal being touted as possible destinations.
Inter have insisted that their skipper is not for sale at any cost, but the 23-year-old forward's wife, Wanda Nara, who also acts as his agent, has indicated otherwise. She confirmed interest from clubs from across Europe including Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur for the striker, while claiming that the striker is ready to renew his contract with Inter instead of moving away from San Siro.
"We want to stay in Milan. People say I am a mercenary, but I am not. [Inter] have to say the truth. They can't say Icardi is not for sale and then talk to other clubs," Icardi's agent said, as quoted by the London Evening Standard.
"I've asked for a renewal because the club had promised me a renewal. Last year we accepted their conditions, which mean a lower salary, the sale of the 50% of Mauro's economic rights and there is no release clause on his contract. They have to keep their promises."
"There are many offers, but I do not negotiate with other clubs. I only talk about Mauro's contract, that's my role, not doing negotiations. Atletico Madrid, Tottenham and Arsenal have made contact. Napoli and Roma are also interested now," she explained.
Wenger has made signing a striker one of his top priorities this summer but has been unable to land his preferred targets. Olivier Giroud is the only recognised centre-forward in the squad at the moment and is likely to miss the start of the season following his involvement with France at Euro 2016. This will leave the Gunners with part-time No 9 Theo Walcott as the only option for their opening game against Liverpool on 14 August.
Jamie Vardy was the manager's first option, but the England international forward rejected the Gunners' advances and agreed a new four-year deal with Leicester City. Alvaro Morata was also reported to be on the radar, but Real Madrid have decided to hold on to the Spanish forward after exercising their buyback clause and signing him from Juventus earlier in the summer.
Higuain and Icardi are the latest forwards on Arsenal's radar, but both have contracts with their current employers Napoli and Inter respectively. While the former has a release clause of €94m (£78.6m, $104m), the latter does not and is reportedly valued around €50m-€55m.