Italian outlet CalcioMercato have claimed that Gennaro Gattuso decided to reject an approach from Arsenal to sign Napoli striker Andrea Petagna in the summer – despite the Italian powerhouse only just returning from a loan spell.
Petagna, 25, has established himself as one of the more lethal attackers in Serie A football over the course of the past couple of years. Joining SPAL from Atalanta initially on loan in 2018 before a permanent move in 2019, Petagna caught the eye of Napoli.
He scored 16 Serie A goals in 36 league games, before netting 12 more last season after his permanent move. That tempted Napoli to move, who signed Petagna for £15million (OneFootball) before immediately sending him back on loan.
Petagna remained at SPAL until the summer before finally joining Napoli, and he has since scored in four substitute appearances. The latest report claims that Arsenal were interested in the summer, but Gattuso rejected an approach.
TBR’s view – Petagna is something Arsenal do not have
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is renowned for his pace and explosive finishing, while Alexandre Lacazette can be used as a target man but is more technically gifted than he is strong or an aerial threat. Petagna is something Arsenal lack.
His brute strength not only proves to be a huge handful for defenders – much like Michail Antonio is showing at West Ham – but Petagna is also more than capable of bringing others into play. In 75 Atalanta games, he laid on an impressive 13 assists.
A target man, Petagna’s strength takes defenders out of the game and brings others into play. Combining that with his goal threat, he would have been a good signing – but it is no surprise that Arteta has chosen to keep him.