Adrián Lopez: Why Falcao's Understudy Is Perfect For Arsenal

Arsenal have offered in the region of £10 million for Adrián, way below his buy out clause. Here's why Arsene should find the extra moolah...
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Arsenal have offered in the region of £10 million for Adrián, way below his buy out clause. Here's why Arsene should find the extra moolah...

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Arsenal have offered in the region of £10 million for Adrián, way below his buy out clause. Here's why Arsene should find the extra moolah...

As Deportivo de la Coruña were relegated on the last day of last season, fans stood and hurled abuse at the players. It was the lack of desire and ruthlessness that the team had shown throughout the season that angered them. Deportivo had been relegated even though they had lost the seventh least amount of games and had conceded the same amount of goals as Valencia and Villarreal, who had both qualified for the Champions League.

Where they ran into problems was up front, they had scored a measly 31 goals, the worst in the league. Seven of those goals belonged to Adrían López who was on the brink of signing for Atlético de Madrid. It was nothing personal, but the Atleti faithful were not that excited with the signing and many believed that he would fail to step into the boots left by Kun Agüero. That would all change though.

Before completing his signing for Atlético, the forward went on international duty with the Spanish U-21 squad and finished the European Championships as top scorer, with five goals. His transfer to the Spanish capital was a complicated one, with Deportivo saying that he was not a free agent and a fee had to be paid. A court ruled in Adrián and Atlético’s favour and the 23-year-old put pen to paper.

He was signed to play with Diego Forlán, but the Uruguayan was sold to Inter Milan and Colombian striker Radamel Falcao was brought in to bolster the front line. Whilst the forward nicknamed ‘El Tigre’ was a welcomed signing, some were worried about the lack of depth the side had up front.

It was nothing personal, but the Atleti faithful were not that excited with the signing

Adrián scored in his second game for the club in a Europa League qualifier and he quickly started to win over the fans. Whilst his finishing and first touch was sometimes a little suspect, his work rate and determination more than made up for it. As the Gregorio Manzano era started to crumble, he was one of the bright lights, and fans started to chant for him to be included in the senior Spanish squad.

Falcao was showing promise, but was lacking consistency and was starting to be outshone by the little Asturiano. While fans knew that former Porto forward was a class or two above the boy from the Principality in the north of Spain, fans could associate themselves more with Adrián, who was soft spoken, down to earth and happy to be doing what he loved, which was playing football.

Diego Simeone replaced Manzano and decided to use just one forward up front. Some thought this would signal less time for Adrián but the forward was still key to the Argentine’s plans. Simeone used him in various positions such as the 2nd forward playing deep behind the central and also used him across the midfield although he tended to prefer playing on the right.

Falcao found consistency and no one was in any doubt that some of the reasons were down the dog work that Adrián had been doing, to get the ball up top, and supply the Colombian. He was to be lucky and not suffer a faith that is traditional with the 2nd striker; he would get the recognition he deserved.

Fans could associate themselves more with Adrián, who was soft spoken, down to earth and happy to be doing what he loved

As his star rose, so too did the rumours and headlines. After scoring 11 goals in the Europa League, he was attracting attention across Spain and Europe. Sports daily ‘Mundo Deportivo’ claimed that Barcelona were interested and more so when his buy-out clause was €18m, while Premier League giants Arsenal have also been credited with an interest. Atlético strongly stated that the forward was going nowhere but knew that should anybody offer the €18m they would have no option but to allow him to speak to another club.

As the transfer window closed, Atlético fans and board alike celebrated the fact that they had managed to retain their attacking duo but the Rojiblanco board are now keen to tie Adrian down, something it appears he is not quite ready to do yet.

Last week it was announced that the club had offered him a new contract. After all his efforts of last season the player felt that he deserved a little better that was on offer. Right now negotiations have stalled but neither the player nor the club are worried, for the moment.

‘The thing is that right now I have a contract and it has three years left on it, so right now it is not the most important issue. I am relaxed and I am not worried about it’ said the Spanish international at an event on Sunday, adding that while the side enjoyed their Super Cup win against Chelsea, it was no time to be resting on their laurels.

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