Arsenal’s second-leg victory over Fenerbahce came at a grave cost as Lukas Podolski is likely to be out for eight to 10 weeks with a hamstring injury, sending the rumour-sphere into overdrive that a move for Juan Mata could be imminent.
Having already been robbed of one left-sided attacker in the shape of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arsene Wenger needed an injury to Germany international Podolski like a fish needs a bicycle.
Wenger simply has no choice now but to splash the cash and after admitting ‘liking’ Mata when quizzed in the aftermath of the Gunners’ latest win, this renewed urgency lends real credibility to the 6/1 on the Chelsea playmaker heading to the Emirates Stadium before the window closes.
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Arsenal’s manager has already shown exactly where his cards lie on the Spaniard too, after being beaten in his pursuit of Mata by Chelsea just over two years ago.
Flash-forward to now though and this time Wenger should have significantly more financial bargaining power at his disposal and, given the further loss of big-name players through injury, there is a growing sense of desperation thrown in.
These two elements could conspire to make the Gunners turn Chelsea’s head with an offer worth serious consideration, despite Jose Mourinho’s protestations that he won’t be sold.
If the pressure on Wenger’s shoulders to bring in new faces wasn’t suffocating enough by this point, those shouts will become deafening in light of further depletion to his threadbare squad.
Mata is unquestionably a player who could slot into the Arsenal mould as he is one of the most technically-gifted players operating in the Premier League at present.
Having performed the role of left winger at former club Valencia, his propensity to drift in from that side of the pitch only adds to his suitability to come in and do that exact job for Arsenal.
How deeply Chelsea are resolved to keep him remains to be seen.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.