Having been pilloried in the press and by some of the Arsenal faithful, Arsene Wenger’s decision not to sign an outfield player in the summer is now threatening to backfire.
The Gunners are very much in Premier League title contention – they’re 15/8 second favourites – but despite the 3-1 win over Sunderland on Saturday, a bench which featured only Theo Walcott as an attacking option must be cause for concern.
Wenger has spent big in recent years to bring Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to the Emirates, but the Frenchman remains largely frugal in the transfer market.
With injuries building however, and a real opportunity to claim a first league title in 12 seasons, the 66-year-old may well be swayed to get the chequebook out in January.
Top of that list could be Real Madrid’s Jese Rodriguez for as little as £20m.
The Spaniard has struggled to break into Real’s first team in the last 18 months, and doesn’t seem to have found favour under Rafa Benitez, despite reports of a falling out between the Real boss and certain first-team regulars.
Further evidence of Jese’s plight came last night when again he was on the bench for Real’s dead-rubber Champions League game against Malmo.
Two seasons ago Jese was the talk of Madrid, with six goals and an assist in his first seven starts for the club.
The slide back to the fringes of the first team however, is arguably down the club’s desire to play the big three of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale than a lack of footballing talent on Jese’s part.
At 22, Jese’s best years are very much still ahead of him, and his ability to play in a range of offensive positions means he’s ticking a lot of boxes on Wenger’s wish-list.
Reports in Spain have emerged suggesting that Los Blancos are ready to cash in on the Spanish U21 international, and will be happy to listen to offers in the £20m region.
Rated as better than Gareth Bale at the same age by Spanish journalist Guillem Balague, Arsenal could be snapping up a player widely viewed as one of the best young prospects on the continent.
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