Arsenal look set to swoop for Fiorentina’s Riccardo Montolivo after a falling out with his employers and declining the offer of a new contract at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
The Italy international has been a target for Arsenal for some time with Arsene Wenger having enquired about his availability in the past only to be quoted prices that were previously out of his price range. Now with £60m of transfer fees collected through the sales of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri money is less of an issue – as is the fact that he has just one year remaining on his contract – and Wenger will be buoyed by comments emanating from the Serie A club.
“Montolivo doesn’t believe in the Fiorentina project,” Fiorentina sporting director Pantaleo Corvino told reporters. “As a result, the player will be sold abroad.”
Wenger has been understandably coy regarding his transfer targets largely so as not to inflate the asking price but also because their participation in this season’s Champions League was not assured until their 2-1 victory over Udinese on Wednesday night. In fact, ‘Le Professeur’ had sought to play down any approach for either the 26-year-old or Lazio’s Mauro Zarate though fell short of ruling out an approach.
“Zarate and Montolivo? No, there is absolutely nothing from us,” the Arsenal manager said at the press-conference prior to the second leg of their Champions League playoff.
“But even if we were interested, I would not say.”
Judging by that last line, expect a bid for the player sooner rather than later.