Arsenal have bid narrowly over £40 million for Luis Suarez. But are they wasting their time?
Here are 10 strikers on the market this summer they could have signed for that price instead, or in some cases far below...
1) Gonzalo Higuain
Arsenal came pretty close to pulling this one off, with at one stage the player claimed to be en route to the club for a medical. The Argentine is set to complete a £34.5 million move to Napoli, and his first game for the Italians could be against Arsenal in The Emirates Cup.
2) Mario Gomez
It's a bit of a surprise Gomez was not pursued by Premier League clubs. The free-scoring German still scored 19 last year despite missing half of Bayern's season with injury, and being second choice, netting more than 40 the year before. He sealed a £17 million move to Fiorentina.
3) Alvaro Negredo
Negredo never really appeared to feature on Arsenal's radar, but perhaps he should have done. He has scored regularly for Sevilla for a number of seasons, and was available for just over half the price Arsenal bid for Suarez. Manchester City wisely snapped him up, and expect big things from him.
4) Roberto Soldado
Soldado is still available from Valencia, with his price tag set at €30 million. Tottenham are trying to sign him, and ha Arsenal may regret standing by idly and seeing him sign for their rivals. With more than 20 goals in La Liga over the past four seasons, he has a pedigree to be proud of.
5) Robert Lewandowski
Lewandowski may have his heart set on Bayern, but money talks. The striker has just one year left on his Dortmund contract, and if Arsenal push the boat out financially, even offer close to the £40 million, Dortmund would have no chance to accept, and try to push the deal to stop him signing for their rivals on a free next summer.
6) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Aubameyang was linked with the Gunners regularly last season, due to his sensational and often spectacular scoring with St Etienne in France's Ligue One. He signed with Dortmund for a fee rumoured to be under £20 million, and may go onto cause Arsenal to regret not following up their interest.
7) Carlos Tevez
Swap a controversial Uruguayan for a controversial Argentine, and what do you get - Carlos Tevez. Signed for just under £10 million by Juventus, the striker is a proven commodity in the Premier League, and could have enhanced Arsenal's strike options at a bargain price.
8) Leandro Damiao
Leandro Damiao was Brazil's hottest striker a year ago, but after an injury caused him to miss the Confederations Cup, and a slight dip in form, European clubs have shyed away from his €25 million price tag set by his club. Compared to the Suarez bid, it's small change, and less aggravation. A gamble, perhaps, but so would be signing Bernard, a player with less experience with who Arsenal have recently been linked.
9) Wilfried Bony
A few years ago Suarez was 'just' the top striker in Holland, last season showing that he really can translate that form into the Premier League. Wilfried Bony, who scored for fun with Vitesse last season attracted huge attention from Premier League clubs, at one stage loosely linked with Arsenal. Swansea City took the gamble, and just as they did with Michu last year, may make other clubs wish they had too.
10) Stevan Jovetic
Jovetic is the classic 'number 10', rather than an out and out centre-forward, seen as one of the best of his generation. Arsenal looked to be closing in at one stage, but decided not to meet Fiorentina's £26 million valuation. Potentially regrettably for them, Manchester City did.
But what does this tell us?
The 10 strikers can be split into three categories, ones the club simply missed out on or chose to ignore - Bony, Tevez, Negredo, Gomez; ones they looked at but didn't want to spend the cash on Higuain, Aubameyang, Jovetic, and those remaining on the market; Soldado, Lewandowski, and Damiao.
It shows how at this point Arsenal's options have whittled down, either by indecision or poor decision making. Two strikers above the £40 million threshold were Edinson Cavani and Falcao, who have made big moves of their own.
The wildcard not featured in the list above is Wayne Rooney, because it really is unclear what Manchester United would charge for him. With their stance that the striker is not for sale, it's probably that like Suarez, a £40 million bid would not sway United, whether the valuation is fair on him or not.
Arsenal's options are running out, but there are some top strikers they can still turn their attentions to, with the €30 million price tag placed on Roberto Soldado by Valencia a clear example. Whether they get their man in Suarez remains to be seen, so it might just be time for them to consider alternatives before any more get snapped up.
Who did Arsenal really miss out on, and who should they target instead of Suarez?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald