Arsenal Transfer Rumours: Gunners to Battle Spurs for 'New Cristiano Ronaldo'

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2013

Image courtesy of www.realbetisbalompie.es.
Image courtesy of www.realbetisbalompie.es.

Arsene Wenger's willingness to invest in youth may be highlighted once more this summer.

Fresh on the heels of signing France Under-20 forward Yaya Sanogo, Arsenal are now set to do battle with Tottenham Hotspur for Real Betis' 18-year-old attacking-midfielder Alvaro Vadillo.

As reported by The Independent's Jack De Menezes, who likens Vadillo to a young Cristiano Ronaldo, the emerging starlet is the youngest player to have started a La Liga game and has earned mighty praise across the early steps of his career:

The 18-year-old is the youngest player to have ever started a match in La Liga when he made his league debut in August 2011, at the youthful age of 16 years, 11 months and 16 days.

He has gone on to be scouted by Europe’s biggest clubs after he drew comparisons to Real Madrid forward Ronaldo, with fans and analysts suggesting he has a similar poise on the ball, his fondness for attack and his dribbling ability on the left flank.

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger is under considerable pressure from fans due to the lack of new arrivals at the Emirates, and he has identified Vadillo to fit the bill for what he is looking for in midfield.

Laurie Whitwell of the Daily Mail also comments on Vadillo's comparison to Ronaldo, suggesting the two are similar at the corresponding moments of their teenage development:

The Spanish winger has drawn comparisons with the Real Madrid superstar due to his poise on the ball, fondness for a trick, and dribbling ability on the left wing.

He possesses a similar build to that of the young Ronaldo and the early indications are his decision-making is more advanced than the Portuguese's was at the same age.

While caution should be applied when making comparisons with Ronaldo, Vadillo's promise is there for all to see.

The No. 7 made three starts for Betis last season and played off the bench 11 times, as reported by Whoscored.com. He provided assists in the 2-1 home loss to Barcelona and 5-1 demolition of Granada at the Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes.

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Vadillo is slight but his agility allows him to pass opponents. He has decent balance, high energy levels and is intelligent in the final third. And like a young Ronaldo, his speed is likely to improve when he develops a greater physical presence.

Wenger faces a real battle to land the youngster. Spurs' interest is likely to wager on whether Gareth Bale moves to Real Madrid, a move that would see Andre Villas-Boas receive a major transfer kitty to soften the blow of losing his key asset, as Whitwell notes.

The Portuguese manager has already shown interest in Madrid's Jese Rodriguez, but saw a potential move quashed when the forward penned a new four-year deal at the club, as reported by Sky Sports.

AVB is obviously mulling over potential replacements for Bale, and despite signing Nacer Chadli from FC Twente, will need greater firepower to fill the void left by White Hart Lane's prolific Welshman.

Vadillo is currently in England and was an unused substitute in Betis' 1-1 draw with Fulham at Craven Cottage. He will remain in the country for Verdiblancos' match with Everton on August 11 before heading back to Spain for the start of Betis' La Liga season on August 18.

If talks are going to take place, now is the time. Arsenal can get in ahead of Spurs if the club express their interest in the coming days. The Bale saga looks set to run and will continue to preoccupy Spurs.

Of course, many Gunners supporters may be happy to see Vadillo move to their local rivals if it means Bale completes a transfer to Madrid.

Although Vadillo's signing won't satisfy Arsenal fans' hunger for a new striker, his potential Emirates arrival should massively excite the red and white crowd, Ronaldo tag or not.


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