Why is this prolific attacker not one top of the list of Arsenal transfer targets?
The Gunners scored five at the King Power Stadium, doubling their tally for the whole season so far in the Premier League – despite some flashes of form from Theo Walcott up front, it simply isn’t good enough at the moment. There were cries from fans all summer for a signing in the calibre of Karim Benzema, Edinson Cavani or Gonzalo Higuain, but none came. Still, if Arsene Wenger is concerned about spending big, there is a player on top form at the moment with a release clause of just £13m.
That player is Celta Vigo star Nolito, who is rumoured to be a top target for Barcelona ahead of the January transfer window. The 28-year-old is something of a late bloomer, having started his career at the Nou Camp before leaving for more first-team opportunitites. Only now is he realising his full potential with Celta, and he has five goals in his first five games this term to follow on from 13 last year.
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Often playing in a relatively free role from the left-hand side, Nolito also has three assists so far this season and is a complete attacking player. It would be a big surprise if Arsenal weren’t at least looking at him, and it is strange that other Premier League clubs have not taken notice given his incredibly low asking price.
It may well be that the player himself only wants to return to Barca, but it would be bizarre for Wenger to not even try. In Nolito, he could land himself a player twice as good as Olivier Giroud for basically the same price – it is rare that attacking players this good are available for so little and it is an opportunity the club cannot waste if they are to challenge for honours this season. Arsenal’s title challenge fell apart in 2013/14 because they didn’t strengthen up front in the winter transfer window, and the same could happen this time. With Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City not convincing, this could be as good a time as any for Arsenal to come out on top, but unless they bring in players of this calibre, they continue to do themselves no favours.