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Who is Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool target Dusan Vlahovic?

:Headline: Who is Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool target Dusan Vlahovic?:
Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at Fiorentina's in-demand striker Dusan Vlahovic and what fans could expect should the Serbian join a top European club in the future.
Sports Mole

Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic has emerged as one of the hottest properties on the market and a host of elite European clubs are believed to be interested in his services.

La Viola owner Rocco Commisso revealed in a statement on the club's website that the 21-year-old rejected the chance to sign a new contract, which would have made him the 'highest-paid player in the club's history'.

Vlahovic has just under two years remaining on his current deal and Premier League giants Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are all understood to be monitoring his situation.

The likes of Atletico Madrid, AC Milan and Juventus have also been credited with an interest in the striker, who has been valued at around £76.5m by Fiorentina.

Here, Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at Vlahovic and what supporters could expect from the Serbia international should he leave La Viola in the near future.


Background

Born in the Serbian capital of Belgrade, Vlahovic began his youth career with hometown clubs Altina Zemun, OFK Beograd and Red Star Belgrade, before making the switch to Partizan in 2014.

Aged 15, Vlahovic signed his first professional contract with the club and a year later stepped up to the first team. The striker was handed the number nine shirt and made his senior debut in February 2016, coming off the bench in a 2-1 defeat against his former academy side OFK Beograd, to become the youngest debutant in Partizan's history.

Just two months later, Vlahovic became the club's youngest ever goalscorer, netting his first professional goal in a 3-2 home victory against Radnik Surdulica. The striker also scored in the 2015-16 Serbian Cup final, coming on as a substitute to head home the second in a 2-0 triumph over FK Javor Ivanjica.

A run of impressive performances at such a young age in the Serbian top flight caught the eye of many top European clubs including Arsenal and Juventus, who were both understood to have made offers for the striker in the summer of 2016, which Partizan rejected.

Vlahovic stayed with the Black-Whites for the following season, however he only featured for 180 minutes across all competitions. Despite a lack of first-team football, Serie A outfit Fiorentina saw plenty of potential in the 17-year-old and agreed to sign him in January 2018.

The forward followed in the footsteps of former Partizan graduates Aleksander Mitrovic, Stefan Savic, Stefan Jovetic and Matija Nastasic in leaving the Serbian club and moving to one of Europe's top-five leagues.


Form with Fiorentina

After signing a five-year contract with Fiorentina in the winter window of 2018, shortly after his 18th birthday, Vlahovic was not eligible to play until the beginning of the 2018-19 season. The striker eventually made his competitive debut for La Viola in September, coming on for the final five minutes in a 2-1 defeat against Inter Milan at San Siro.

Vlahovic struggled to displace first-team regulars Luis Muriel and Giovanni Simeone, featuring just 10 times in his maiden campaign in Italy. However the Serb was given the chance to prove himself the following season and went on to score eight goals in 34 appearances across all competitions, only bettered by former Fiorentina winger Federico Chiesa.

In 2020-21, Vlahovic elevated his game to new heights and established himself as one of the league's most prolific centre-forwards. He won the Serie A Young Player of the Year award after scoring 21 league goals in 37 appearances, only behind Cristiano Ronaldo (29) Romelu Lukaku (24) and former teammate Muriel (22).

The 6ft 3in striker was able to showcase his all-round talent as a complete forward. His physical strength and pace combined with his hunger to score goals frightened defenders, who found him difficult to deal with when holding up the ball, running in behind or causing problems inside the penalty area.

Vlahovic has begun the new campaign as he intends to go on, finding the net six times in eight matches across all competitions, with La Viola currently sitting fifth in the Serie A standings.


International experience

Vlahovic's rising profile at club level earned him his first international call-up in October 2020 and he made his debut in a 1-0 defeat against Hungary in the Nations League.

Just a month later, the 21-year-old scored his first goal for the Eagles in a comfortable 5-0 victory against Russia in the same competition.

Vlahovic has scored three international goals in 10 appearances for the senior side, and will be hoping to add to his tally during this month's international break, where Serbia lock horns against Luxembourg and Azerbaijan in World Cup Qualifying.

Prior to his senior career with the Eagles, the striker began with Serbia's Under-15s and Under-16s before receiving a call up to the Under-19's set-up, where he was a star player at the Stevan Vilotic-Cele Memorial competition and was nominated for Player of the Tournament.

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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Chelsea108112632325
2Liverpool106402982122
3Manchester CityMan City106222061420
4West Ham UnitedWest Ham106222011920
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd105231915417
6Arsenal105231213-117
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves105141110116
8Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton104421111016
9Tottenham HotspurSpurs10505916-715
10Everton104241616014
11Leicester CityLeicester104241517-214
12Brentford103341212012
13Crystal Palace102621314-112
14Southampton10253912-311
15Aston Villa103161419-510
16Watford103161218-610
17Leeds UnitedLeeds102441017-710
18Burnley101451016-67
19Newcastle UnitedNewcastle100461123-124
20Norwich CityNorwich10028325-222
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Chelsea108112632325
2Liverpool106402982122
3Manchester CityMan City106222061420
4West Ham UnitedWest Ham106222011920
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd105231915417
6Arsenal105231213-117
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves105141110116
8Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton104421111016
9Tottenham HotspurSpurs10505916-715
10Everton104241616014
11Leicester CityLeicester104241517-214
12Brentford103341212012
13Crystal Palace102621314-112
14Southampton10253912-311
15Aston Villa103161419-510
16Watford103161218-610
17Leeds UnitedLeeds102441017-710
18Burnley101451016-67
19Newcastle UnitedNewcastle100461123-124
20Norwich CityNorwich10028325-222
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