Arsenal have both been handed a major boost in their rumoured pursuit of Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic.
The Serbia international, who was also linked with Tottenham in the summer, is said to be a target for the Gunners.
Alexandre Lacazette is out of contract at the Emirates Stadium in 2022 and is unlikely to sign a new deal with the club.
That would leave Arsenal short of options up front, especially as Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang will be 33 at the start of next season.
Vlahovic is among the centre-forwards they are keeping tabs on, and the news that he has turned down Fiorentina’s offer of a new contract will therefore go down well in north London.
Vlahovic’s current deal runs until 2023 and his refusal to put pen to paper on an extension could see him leave the Serie A side as early as January.
The Fiorentina president Rocco Commisso has publicly admitted that the striker has rejected the terms that were put before him.
“When I arrived in Florence, I promised the fans that I would be up front with them and that I would never make promises that I couldn’t keep,” Commisso said in a statement.
‘I would therefore like to update the Fiorentina fans on an issue that has been much talked and spoken about in recent months – the question of Dusan Vlahovic’s contract.
“We also improved our offer on a number of occasions in order to accommodate the requests of both Dusan and his entourage. However, despite our efforts, those offers have not been accepted.
“During my time in Florence over the past few weeks, I have personally endeavoured to find a solution that would make both the player and the club happy, but I am disappointed to say that our efforts and attempts have not been rewarded.
“At this point, all that we can do is acknowledge the wishes of the player and his entourage and quickly identify feasible, appropriate solutions as we proceed with this exciting new season.
“In any case, Dusan Vlahovic has a contract linking him to Fiorentina for the next 21 months.
“We have no doubt that the player will – as he always has – do his bit to help the team achieve its objectives, showing the same level of professionalism he has shown since he arrived in Florence, with the utmost respect from our fans, his team-mates, the coach and the club as a whole.”
Arsenal will be encouraged by the latest development in Florence, but they could face stiff competition for the striker.
Vlahovic was also linked with Manchester City and Atletico Madrid a few months back, and other sides could enter the race following his recent decision to reject a new contract at Fiorentina.