Spain has been a happy hunting ground for the Arsenal boss recently, or at least Spanish players have. His best bys in the last two seasons have been Santi Cazorla from Malaga and Mikel Arteta from Everton. It looks like Arsene Wenger is going to try to keep the run going in January with a bid to bring Adrian Lopez from Athletico Madrid.
Wenger praised the astute scouting of the new Swansea City manager, Michael Laudrup, this week for his signing of the Spanish duo Michu and Pablo Hernandez, and the Spanish Primera Liga is definitely becoming a place that English Premier league clubs are looking at for new talent.
There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, there is a great deal of Spanish talent coming through, with the coaching system developing technically skilled players from a very young age. Along with this is the nurturing of the competitive instinct that is so necessary in the English game. This is helped by the fact that the reserve teams are actually involved in the normal league system, with the B teams of Barcelona and Real Madrid doing well in the second tier.
Another good reason for clubs to look at Spain is that most of the clubs are struggling financially. Their league does not generate nearly as much money as ours, and most of that goes to the big two. Even Athletico Madrid, who won the Europa league and the Spanish cup and are sitting second in the league looking assured of the Champions league next year, need to sell players.
That’s where Arsenal step in. Athletico desperately want to keep Falcao, but know they will lose him soon. By selling Adrian to Arsenal, they can afford to keep Falcao until summer and make sure they qualify for the lucrative Champions league. Wenger knows he can get the talented Spaniard on a cut price deal because of this.
“I must say, for someone who knows the Spanish market, it is maybe a good period to sign players because the clubs are in trouble financially and you can make bargains there.”