Arsenal Transfer Rumours: Rodrigo Presents Strong Option for Gunners

Michael WadeAnalyst IIIJanuary 23, 2014

Benfica striker Rodrigo has been linked with Arsenal.
Benfica striker Rodrigo has been linked with Arsenal.Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Arsenal have been linked with a move for Benfica striker Rodrigo, a player who would offer the squad depth that the Gunners need to win the Premier League title.

A report by Ben Jefferson in the Express claims that Arsenal, Valencia and Zenit are all interested in the player.

It is thought that Zenit have already had a £25m bid for Rodrigo accepted, but the player has some doubts about a move to Russia and has resisted partaking in negotiations over personal terms.

And that leaves Arsenal and Valencia at the head of the queue for the Brazil-born Spaniard's services. Neither Arsenal nor Valencia are believed to be willing to match Zenit's offer, with both clubs preferring a loan deal.

Arsenal would undoubtedly have the greater pull of the three sides, with a place in a squad challenging for the Premier League title far more attractive than Valencia's midtable position in La Liga.

Having scored eight goals in 16 games for Benfica this season, per Soccerbase, Rodrigo would represent great striking cover for the Gunners' first-choice forward Olivier Giroud, especially as the club challenge for silverware on three fronts.

However, having played in the Champions League already, he would be ineligible for the competition. And with Benfica leading the Portuguese Primeira Liga, it remains to be seen whether they would be willing to lose a second key player, after the sale of Nemanja Matic to Chelsea, unless a substantial loan fee is paid.

But it is a deal worth looking into, with Theo Walcott already set to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, as reported by BBC Sport, one more injury to an attacker could leave Arsenal short of numbers and have a fatal effect on the club's season.

Theo Walcott will miss the remainder of the season through injury.
Theo Walcott will miss the remainder of the season through injury.Clive Rose/Getty Images

Per Dave Filmer in the Metro, Rodrigo, a product of Real Madrid's academy, was wanted by Tottenham in the summer and has the ability to play in a number of roles including centre-forward, second striker or out wide.

As reported by John Cross in the Mirror, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has claimed he is not likely to make any signings in the transfer window, despite being linked heavily with a number of names.

But if he assesses his options against Coventry in the FA Cup fourth round on Friday night and has any doubts, then Rodrigo could be the man to pursue.