Saturday, January 9, 2016 8:09 am
Scouts have been instructed to identify centre forward targets ahead of the summer transfer window and their is a growing belief at the club’s London Colney base that the Nigerian fits the bill.
Ighalo’s impact at Vicarage Road has not gone unnoticed at the Emirates Stadium in recent months, with the striker scoring 14 goals already this season.
Arsenal want a striker they believe can hit the ground running, and Ighalo seems to tick that box.
The Gunners are, of course, exploring alternatives to Ighalo in the search for a striker.
Borussia Dortmund hitman Pierre Emerick Aubameyang is liked; as is Javier Hernandez, who has scored 11 goals for Bayer Leverkusen since leaving Manchester United in the summer.
But Aubameyang would cost in excess of £50million, while Hernandez may have reservations about returning to England.
Arsenal believe a swoop for Ighalo is far more realistic prospect and will continue to monitor the striker’s progress ahead of the summer transfer window.
They may have to pay over the odds to sign the 26-year-old as Hornets manager Quique Sanchez Flores has warned the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United off star strikers Ighalo and Troy Deeney.
‘It’s completely impossible,’ he said when asked if either Ighalo or Deeney could leave the club in January.
‘Our target as a team is very clear. The confidence of these players is amazing. They are completely confident in themselves.
‘When we talk in the office with the sporting director and the owners we don’t talk about selling players.
‘We talk about to continue growing with the same players, with the same group, try to add some for the future. The reality of the situation is we don’t want to lose anyone.’
Ighalo has recently said that he could be tempted into a move to boyhood side Manchester United should Louis van Gaal attempt to entice him away from Vicarage Road.
The Nigeria international told The Sun: ‘I don’t think I will be moving but I’m not sure I could say no if United called.’
He went on to explain: ‘They were my team growing up. I loved watching Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke.
‘They were my idols and playing at Old Trafford has always been a dream.’
The Gunners’ only signing of significance this January is likely to be Basel midfielder Mohamed Elneny.
The £5million swoop for the Egyptian has been delayed by immigration red-tape; obtaining a work permit for the Egyptian is taking longer than expected.
Nevertheless, the deal will be completed by the end of the transfer window.
*Reported by Mail Online