A few days ago Arsene Wenger told the BBC that he was only looking to buy exceptional players during the transfer window. And then, in words that will haunt every Gunners fan for the next few weeks, he added that exceptional players were hard to come by. So there still remains a possibility that there will be no new additions to the squad in the coming weeks.
One player that Wenger rates as exceptional is Atletico Madrid’s striker Adrian Lopez. The player has been on Wenger’s radar for quite a while now and there seem to be encouraging noises coming from Spain that a deal to secure Lopez is more than a possibility.
But is Lopez the marquee signing that Arsenal fans have been dreaming of. There’s no denying that his form last season, in which he bagged 19 goals, was scintillating. Things however have become more problematic this season as he has been eclipsed by Radamel Falcao (now that would be a marquee signing) and Diego Costa.
The theory runs that cash strapped Madrid are desperate to cling on to Falcao and realise that by selling Lopez they can hang on to their star.
Lopez also fits the Wenger template in so many other ways in that he is young (24), not going to cost too much cash (he has a buy out clause of £15 million, but his wages would be much less than £100k per week demanded by Huntelaar and Villa) and will relish the opportunity to re start his career at another club. There were rumours earlier in the weekend that Arsenal were chasing Barcelona’s David Villa, but while a loan deal might suit both parties, the player is too old and injury-prone to be a long term solution for the Gunners.
So what would Arsenal be getting with Lopez? Firstly he has great positional sense in an around the goal. He is one of those strikers who always seems to be in the right place at the right time. He is also quick – many of the goals he scored for Atletico last year saw him burst through the middle, outpace defenders and then outwit the goalie.
Lopez also scores a lot of goals with his head. The pace and power he gets when heading the ball is astonishing and would give Arsenal another very serious attacking weapon.
What he doesn’t really offer is presence and power. If Arsenal want a striker who will dominate the area and who has the knack of winning that ball no matter what they would probably be better off with Demba Ba.
So while Lopez would be a very useful signing much would depend on how quickly he acclimatise to the Premiership. Arsenal have had mixed fortunes with Spanish players. Cazorla has settled quickly and has become the pulse of the team. But then Arsenal once fielded one of Lopez’s team mates at Athletic – Jose Reyes – and after a sensational start Reyes faded badly.
Yesterday saw two of Arsenal’s other transfer targets in action. Demba Ba put in a powerful performance for Newcastle, while Wilfried Zaha scored a wonder goal for Palace. he really does look like an English Aguerro and he would be a superb replacement for Arshavin. One thing that could tip the balance in favour of Ba is that he has Premiership experience.
Anyhow, here a video of Lopez’s goals last season. Is he the player to ensure that the gunners finish in the top four and start a real challenge for many honours next season?