Arsenal Must Beat Manchester United to Signing of Nick Powell

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2012

CREWE, ENGLAND - MARCH 31:  Nick Powell of Crewe Alexandra moves against John Johnson of Northampton Town during the npower League Two match between Crewe Alexandra and Northampton Town at The Alexandra Stadium on March 31, 2012 in Crewe, England.  (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)
Pete Norton/Getty Images

Arsenal should do all they can to beat Manchester United in the race for Crewe Alexandra wonderkid Nick Powell. The precocious 18-year-old is the kind of young talent Arsenal should target in this summer's transfer window.

Powell just capped a superb campaign by netting a wonder goal as the Alex triumphed in the League 2 playoff final. In a move reminiscent of Thierry Henry's famous winner against United in October 2000, Powell used a quick and deft touch to flick the ball up. He then fired a thunderous volley on the turn which arrowed into the net.

It was just one more indication of the level of Powell's natural ability. It's that ability that has led to rumoured interest from United, with the Daily Mail suggesting on May 19th, that the Red Devils had finalised a £4 million swoop.

However, on the 24th, reported Crewe's denial of a completed deal. Arsenal must contend any deal and secure Powell's signature. Arsene Wenger has long been an admirer of Powell, having scouted him since the age of 16.

A tall and rangy youth, Powell has decent natural strength on the ball and is technically very gifted. The young forward if full of bright ideas and flair.

He has seen time at midfield and played most of this season as a striker, yet his creativity and eye for goal should see him as a natural No. 10 who can link the midfield and attacking areas.

Playing for Crewe means that Powell has been developed in a team structure, which demands slick and quality passing football. His fluidity and subtle off-the-ball movement mean that Powell would have no trouble fitting into Arsenal's attractive brand of football.

He can occasionally be guilty of ignoring a pass in favour of trying to go around defenders and his decision-making could be sharper, but those are two things that can reasonably be expected to improve with age and experience.

Powell's raw talent and Wenger's expert tutelage would make the jump from English football's lower echelons to its top tier easier. Back in July 2011, this author suggested the Gunners should make a move for Powell. Almost 12 months on, Wenger should act quickly and sign this fast-rising young star.