David Sullivan should seal a summer swoop for West Ham United to sign Dusan Vlahovic, despite ACF Fiorentina reportedly demanding £34.5m for the striker.
According to TuttoMercatoWEB, Vlahovic has continued to reject offers to extend his contract at the Artemio Franchi Stadium and currently has no intentions of putting pen to paper.
The 21-year-old will enter the final two years of his contract, said to be worth €400,000-a-year (£6.5k-p/w), in June, and has more than doubled his demands from 12 months ago.
Vlahovic requested a triple-his-money pay rise after Fiorentina rejected a €25m (£21.5m) offer from RB Leipzig last summer, but has since increased his demands from €1.2m (£20k-p/w) to €2.5m-a-year (£41.5k-p/w).
Fiorentina have been reluctant to meet the demands of their 12-goal top-scorer, with President Rocco Commisso particularly loath to sanctioning the hefty commission Vlahovic’s agent, Darko Ristic, would claim.
Talks between the two parties have stalled as a result of their differing views, but Fiorentina are pricing the Serbian out of a move by demanding at least €40m (£34.5m) to sell the four-cap international.
Bundesliga title-hopefuls Leipzig remain keen on the Belgrade-born frontman, while Serie A side AS Roma are understood to have held discussions with Ristic in the past few weeks over a move to the Stadio Olimpico.
AC Milan likewise sounded out Vlahovic’s availability a year ago and remain attentive, while reports by Calciomercato earlier this month touted West Ham and Borussia Dortmund as potential destinations should the forward leave Tuscany this summer.
Fiorentina’s alleged asking price of £34.5m would represent a hefty sum for West Ham to pay, with the fee in question only eclipsed by the £45m the Irons spent on Sebastien Haller and £36m on Felipe Anderson.
Neither of those two moves worked out for the Hammers long-term, with Haller leaving in January for only £20m and reports already suggesting that a £17m price tag will be placed on Anderson at the end of the season.
But Sullivan should not let those mishaps cloud his judgment of Vlahovic, and should push ahead with rivalling some of Europe’s big hitters for the Partizan Belgrade product who is capable of producing magic.
Vlahovic was lauded for his stunning strike away to Benevento earlier this month, having shrugged off defenders before picking his head up and finding the back of the net from range.
The 21-year-old’s solo effort sealed a first-half hat-trick and wrote his name in the history books again, by becoming the first Fiorentina player to score three times in the opening 45 minutes since Kurt Hamrin achieved the feat in 1964.
Vlahovic was already a record-breaker on five occasions, having become the first player born in 2000 to start a Serie A game for Fiorentina, as well as being the youngest professional for Partizan Belgrade and the youngest scorer in the Serbian side’s history.
With Vlahovic seemingly only getting better, with 11 of his 12 Italian top-flight goals this season coming over the last 16 matchdays, Sullivan should spend big to make the Viola star David Moyes’ next attacking option.
AND in other news, West Ham are set to sign a £13.5m-rated titan for free this summer…