Atletico Madrid’s Adrian Lopez had one of those seasons last year: a relatively low-profiled Spanish footballer who rose to prominence following a string of fantastic performances and a Europa League medal.
Arsenal have been in need of some added quality in attack since Robin van Persie departed for Premier League rivals Manchester United last summer, and despite adding Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, the Gunners continue to look weak in the striking department.
Perhaps even more so than Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Fernando Llorente, who were previously linked with Arsenal, Adrian seems the perfect candidate to help fire Arsene Wenger’s team into fourth place in the league. Adrian is far from a prolific goal scorer, but he displayed on a number of occasions last season that he’s capable of the spectacular.
The Spaniard’s versatility, quickness and age are what allows him to fall into that category of typical Wenger signings. Giroud is a target man who knows where the goal is, but it’s becoming more and more obvious that the French striker is doesn’t totally fit into Wenger’s tactical game plan.
Another factor which may help Arsenal land their target is that Adrian has featured very little for Atletico this season. Where he was once a regular in the first team, the forward has now been restricted to a place on the bench. He’s certainly old enough to take the next step, and with Atletico needing to find a stronger foot financially, this could be an ideal transfer for all parties.
How could he feature in Arsenal’s starting XI? Wenger has already shown this season that he is not adverse to playing a smaller and less imposing player in the lone striker role. Theo Walcott has since played twice as the central striker, while Gervinho has featured regularly in that position, albeit with very little success.
Wenger wants his striker to play a role in the build up of goals, to link up with the midfielders and to be technically able to play out his attacking philosophy: Adrian certainly fit’s the bill.
The player’s international duty with Spain’s U21s in recent years has shown that he can be successful away from Diego Simeone’s team, and more than anything Arsenal need an injection of pace and intelligence in the final third.
Adrian would represent another project for Wenger to work on. Where the French manager has been so successful in the past in raising the game of players like Robert Pires, Thierry Henry and developing Cesc Fabregas, the Atletico Madrid forward is good enough to potentially become another achievement in player development. He’s young, filled with talent and could prove to be another masterstroke by Wenger in the transfer market.