Who is Dusan Vlahovic? Fiorentina’s strike sensation once scored seven goals in one half and been dubbed ‘the new Zlatan Ibrahimovic’ but his agent is refusing to answer calls from Arsenal about £68m transfer
Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic has attracted a host of Premier League interest with Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool all in a race to sign him.
The 21-year-old is quickly becoming one of football’s hottest properties as he continues to find the net in Italy.
Vlahovic followed up a 21-goal league campaign last season with eight goals already for La Viola this term and looks destined for a big money-move.
His contract in Tuscany expires in 2023 and Fiorentina may look to sell before the start of next season or risk losing him for free.
But why are Europe’s top clubs so desperate to sign him? talkSPORT.com takes a deeper look…
Dusan Vlahovic: Profile
Born on January 28, 2000, the young forward announced himself on the European stage when he broke through in his native Serbia as a teenager.
Vlahovic, who was dubbed ‘the new Zlatan Ibrahimovic’, signed his first professional contract with Partizan Belgrade at the age of 15.
In doing so, he became the youngster ever player on the club’s books and he became their youngster ever scorer when he netted on his fifth appearance.
In 2017 Fiorentina signed a pre-contract agreement with Partizan for Vlahovic to join the club the following year.
Vlahovic scored his first international goal on his full debut in a 5-0 win over Russia having made three previous appearances from the bench.
He bagged seven goals after appearing as a second-half substitute in Fiorentina’s 11-0 win over Italian fourth-tier side Foligno this summer.
Dusan Vlahovic: Position
Vlahovic, a forward by trade, has often been compared to Ibrahimovic during his young career and a former teammate claims the youngster himself first made the comparison between the pair.
Ex-Fiorentina star Valeri Bojinov, who also spent time alongside Vlahovic in Serbia, advised then-La Viola sporting director Pantaleo Corvino to sign him.
“I told Corvino to sign Vlahovic when he was 15 or 16,” Bojinov said.
“Vlahovic was crazy, really crazy. He used to tell me, ‘I am a Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Belgrade, I will play for the strongest clubs’.
“I liked his arrogance. I thought he would become a strong player.”
Like his idol Ibra, Vlahovic has the skills of a smaller diminutive striker while at 6’2 he is also capable of relying on his size and strength upfront.
Dusan Vlahovic: Transfer latest
Arsenal are reportedly leading the race to sign Vlahovic ahead of north London rivals Spurs, who had been put off by his £68million price tag.
A January move looked set to be on the cards but the player’s representatives are now said to be cooling negotiations with the Gunners.
Speaking on Sky Sport Italia, Gianluca Di Marzio said: “In January, it is an impossible operation because Fiorentina are asking for €80 million (£68.3 million). In June, Juve are in the running as well as many teams.
“The team most interested in Vlahovic for January is Arsenal. The English club has established a dialogue more than positive with Fiorentina and would be willing to satisfy the requests of the Viola club to reach an agreement.
“The problem is that Arsenal are unable to speak to the player’s agents, they do not answer the phone.
“The Gunners want to talk to the boy to explain their project to him, but these lack of answers make it impossible to enter into a negotiation.”
talkSPORT.com revealed that potential suitors Juventus are eyeing Manchester United’s Anthony Martial if they fail to land Vlahovic.
Dusan Vlahovic: What has been said?
Fiorentina head coach Vincenzo Italiano has claimed that speculation surrounding his striker leaving in January is wide of the mark.
“We are talking about a guy who has scored eight goals in 11 appearances even if, during some games, we were not able to provide service properly,” he said (via Football Italia).
“I don’t read papers, I’ve heard about Arsenal, Tottenham, City, Juventus and Milan.
“They are just rumours and not too credible for me, the guy is highly focused and he wants to do well.”
Vlahovic joined Erling Haaland as one of just four players born since 2000 to score at least 20 goals in Europe’s top-five leagues back in April.
And the Serbia interntional is in no doubt he can reach the same level as the Norwegian.
“I watch him and I try to understand his finishing and how he moves,” Vlahovic told La Repubblica.
“Then, I focus on my strong points and my weaknesses. It may be presumptuous, but with commitment, I can get there too.”