Arsenal are reportedly chasing after Atletico Madrid striker Adrian Lopez, but the Gunners must be ready to pull out of negotiations if the Spanish club is unwilling to agree on a reasonable price.
Goal.com’s Wayne Veysey writes, “The Londoners have submitted a formal offer of around £10 million, which is lower than the £14.7m release clause in the forward's contract.”
While Lopez dazzled for Atletico last season—most notably with his 11 goals Europa League matches—he has not been able to replicate his success since the start of his current campaign.
He has started just six games for his club and has recorded two goals and no assists during his limited time on the pitch.
While he is still young at 24 years old, he does not have much longer before he should be peaking as a player, and he has had just one season in which he proved that he could contribute at an elite level.
Lopez is undoubtedly talented, but if Atletico is adamant about receiving no less than his £14.7 million release clause, Arsenal is better off seeking other options.
At this price, the Gunners would only have to cough up marginally more for out-of-favor Barcelona striker David Villa, who The Daily Mail’s Sami Mokbel reports is valued at £16 million.
Villa may be 31, but he was one of the most prolific goal-scorers in football before he broke his leg a year ago. Prior to his 2011-12 campaign that was cut short, he had tallied at least 15 goals in each of his eight seasons in La Liga.
He has been pushed aside at Barça not due to declining health, but because of the club’s embarrassment of riches in the attacking positions. He is competing for time with Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Pedro, Alexis Sanchez and Cristian Tello.
Who should the Gunners be targeting?
Signing a player who has proven across his career that he can create goals while playing either down the middle or on the wing would be a better use of the club’s funds.
Lopez’ lack of experience makes him a significantly riskier signing, and given Arsenal’s position outside of the top-four, the team would be wise to play it safe and spring for Villa if it is going to be buying a player in the £15 million range.
However, if Arsenal can successfully negotiate with Atletico and meet somewhere in the middle on a transfer fee of Lopez, it will be getting excellent value for a young and talented player.
While £15 million is too much to pay for Lopez when a player like Villa is available, the Gunners would be making a smart signing if they could secure the Spanish striker for a fee closer to £11 or £12 million.