Arsenal have earmarked Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin as a potential signing in the January transfer window.
The England striker has had a frustrating campaign, much of which has been spent laid up on the sidelines due to a fractured toe.
Building on a superb 2020/21, during which he scored 16 goals and created another three, the 24-year-old netted in the first three matches of the new campaign before suffering his setback.
When will Calvert-Lewin be fit?
Everton boss Rafael Benitez confirmed before Monday’s clash with the Gunners that Calvert-Lewin is set to miss out for another two to three weeks because of the problem – and that must come as music to the ears of Mikel Arteta and Edu.
Benitez, who has watched his side crumble with Calvert-Lewin laid up, knows only too keenly the importance of the forward.
Equally, though, the Toffees’ financial situation is desperate – and that could force them into a January sale.
Suitors such as Arsenal might have been put off making a move for Calvert-Lewin had he still been carrying his injury, but he will have had an opportunity to prove his fitness by the time he returns in mid-December.
Indeed, by the time the January transfer period rolls around, he should be back up to full match sharpness and, having spent three months laid up, should be bursting with energy and fresh for the run in.
This is great news for whichever team Calvert-Lewin finds himself at in February 2022.
Arsenal will certainly have their say in the debate should they wish, but they will face an arm wrestle with Everton to get their man.
The signs are, though, that it is one they may win. Everton have been linked with in-form Zenit St Petersburg forward Sardar Azmoun, who has previously been associated with Arsenal, with the Iranian a possible like-for-like replacement.
Clearly making such a move at such a delicate juncture would be a risk, but financially it would put Everton in a far better place. After all, Azmoun is out of contract in June and would be available relatively cheaply.
Calvert-Lewin, meanwhile, will command a huge price given his Premier League track record and what he could potentially bring to Arsenal, who will be delighted to see him back in action soon – but not as quickly as Monday.