Arsenal have made the signing of Atletico Madrid forward Adrian Lopez their priority in January, after deciding against making a move for fellow-Spaniard Fernando Llorente, according to Spanish publication Marca.
The report claims that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger had approached Athletic Bilbao about signing Llorente in recent days but has now elected to put his focus on 24-year-old Adrian. The Gunners have already launched an €18 million (£14.6m) offer for the Spain international, report Marca.
Arsenal’s pursuit of Adrian is also described by Goal.com, who report that the €18 million fee matches the player’s buyout clause.
"Adrian fits the bill for Arsenal," a source is reported as telling Goal.com. "There is interest in Llorente but he is too similar to Giroud. Wenger wants a striker who is more pacey and can run in behind.
"They feel they can get Adrian for a reasonable price because of the buy-out clause. Wenger wants the deal done at the beginning of January."
While both Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud were signed in the summer, the Daily Telegraph claimed last week that Wenger was intent on signing another striker in the next transfer window, following the summer departure of Robin van Persie.
While Podolski has flourished on the left side of the Gunners attack, Giroud initially struggled to make a positive impact. However, a goal in his last outing for Arsenal, against West Ham, followed by a dramatic equalizer for France in their World Cup qualifier with Spain this week, suggest that the 26-year-old is finding his form.
Wenger will also be concerned, though, that Gervinho, who is an alternative in the central striking role, is due to head to the African Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast in January.
Not only are Adrian’s skills more complimentary to those of Giroud than Llorente’s, but Wenger is also likely to be swayed by the versatility of the former Deportivo La Coruna man. Adrian has played all along the front line for Atletico and was a big part of their run to the Europa League trophy last season, as he struck 10 goals.
If speculation is to be believed, Arsenal’s January shopping trip to Spain may not end with Adrian. Citing a story coming out of Spain, TalkSport reports that Arsenal could renew their interest in Sevilla winger Jesus Navas.
Wenger is thought to be a longtime admirer of the Spain international, with the player again linked with a move to the Emirates in August. There are now claims, though, that a cut-price deal could be on the cards in the New Year due to Sevilla’s suggested need to sell.
One consideration for any move for Navas will be the 26-year-old’s anxiety when spending long spells away from home—an issue that once limited his appearances for the national team.
Navas could well be seen as a replacement for Theo Walcott, whose contract is set to expire next summer.
Another player who may be leaving the Gunners in the near future is Brazil international Andre Santos. The left-back, who joined from Fenerbahce in August 2011, has lost his place to Kieran Gibbs this season and has been linked with a return to Turkey with Galatasaray.
“Andre Santos is one of the names on our list,” said Galatasaray chief executive Lutfi Aribogan, according to Sly Sports.
However, he added: “We currently have no contact with his club and the player himself."
Santos took to Twitter to deny the speculation, but refused to rule out a future move.
"I would like to state clearly that I have a lot of respect for Fenerbahce, and I love Istanbul but for now I am a Gunner.
"For now, I have not received an offer from a Turkish team.
"However, if I receive an offer one day, thinking what is best for my family, I will make a decision."