Despite recent good form, there is a consensus among Arsenal personnel, including manager Arsene Wenger, that a new signing during the January transfer window is necessary for their Champions League push in 2013. The name most are mentioning recently is Adrian Lopez from Atletico Madrid.
The question is – do Arsenal need another small forward who can play as both striker and winger, and isn’t even a first team choice in the La Liga? Adrian has started in six of the 15 matches he has played in. While his ability has often been good, Radamel Falcao can’t be moved from the striker position while Arda Turan and Koke usually play in the other forward positions on the wings. In, Adrian has played in 25 matches (all competitions) this season for Atletico, scoring 3 goals. He was a more meaningful member last season, scoring 19 goals in 57 matches, including 11 in the Europa League.
Still, Arsenal need someone to support Theo Walcott who has taken over the striker job. Gervinho isn’t someone Wenger wants to see playing too much anymore, and Olivier Giroud isn’t too trustworthy to produce at the moment. Wenger needs someone like Adrian to join Walcott and Podolski in a forward trio, if he is to go in that direction.
One of the problems Arsenal might have with Atletico is the asking price. The Adrian rumors began with Atletico asking £10 million, but the price has since jumped to £14 million, the price of his release clause, which makes Arsenal a bit weary regarding moving forward with the deal.
Adrian isn’t the only name on their lists – David Villa of Barcelona is a name many teams in need of a striker are thinking about, but his club have announced more than once that it isn’t in their intentions to be selling him in January. Wilfried Zaha is another name often brought up, usually with Arsenal, but does Wenger want to add another unproven project to his team, filled with youngsters not yet living up to their potential?
Adrian has proven ability and probably a lot of hunger and desire for first team regular football. Still, there’s somewhat of a fear factor in Arsenal because of the price and because the Spaniard has lost his place in the first team this season. Good bargains are hard to find in January, but no one want to be the one who took an expensive risk and failed with it.