Arsenal are reportedly planning another raid on Brighton to prise Japanese winger Kaoru Mitomo away from the Amex Stadium in a £35million deal.
The 25-year-old has been one of the standout players since the World Cup break – scoring five goals in all competitions.
Mitoma has found the back of the net in his last three matches, where he fired in a late winner to send the Seagulls through to FA Cup fifth round at the expense of Liverpool.
And he also scored a dramatic goal at the death in Brighton’s 1-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday to send his side sixth in the table.
It should come as no surprise that the forward is attracting interest ahead of the summer, with journalist Fabrizio Romano writing in CaughtOffside that he is on the Gunners’ radar.
Mikel Arteta got a close-hand look at the 13-cap international when he fired in past Aaron Ramsdale in Arsenal 4-2 win over Brighton on New Year’s Eve.
Mitoma, who cost Brighton just £2.7m from Japanese club Kawasaki Frontale in 2021, also had a late goal ruled out by VAR against the north Londoners.
Romano declared the Premier League table-toppers will have to fork out at least £35m for Mitoma’s signature.
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He said: “I think top clubs know that Kaoru Mitoma priority is now to focus on Brighton and not on any big move yet.
“For sure he’s already worth more than £35m but it’s not time for negotiations at this stage.
“It’s more top recruitment from Brighton, they’ve unearthed another gem who is in great form at the moment.”
Arsenal raided Brighton in January after signing Belgian winger Leandro Trossard for a fee rising to £27m.
And they tried in vain to land midfielder Moises Caicedo after having two bids of £60m and £70m knocked back late in the winter window.
The Ecuadorian took to social media to beg Brighton to sell him, leading the south coast side to tell Caicedo to stay away from training until after the market closed.
It remains to be seen whether the club’s relationship has been affected by Arsenal’s pursuit of the player after Brighton made it clear he was not for sale at any price.
Prior to Trossard’s arrival last month, Arsenal forked out £50m to bring Ben White to the Emirates from Brighton in 2021.
Brighton are on course to secure European qualification for the first time in their history.
As for Arsenal, they look set to return to the Champions League having failed to play in Europe’s premier competition since the 2016/17 season.
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