Arsenal plot Spanish swoops for Sergi Samper and Paco Alcacer
Arsenal, 11/1 chances with Coral to win the Premier League, are weighing up winter window moves for rising Spanish stars Sergi Samper and Paco Alcacer.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is reportedly willing to pay the £9.6m release clause for Barcelona holding midfielder Samper, 19, after catching the eye with their reserves.
Although Samper has yet to make his Nou Camp first-team debut, that will not deter Wenger, who signed Cesc Fabregas at a younger age from Barca. The midfield anchor role remains a hot topic at Arsenal, following injury to club captain Mikel Arteta and the lack of a long-term successor to him in that position.
Valencia striker Alcacer, meanwhile, will be the subject of increased attention from teams around Europe competing in continental competitions this term, after scoring his first senior goal for Spain on his competitive debut. La Roja returned to form by thrashing Macedonia 5-1 in their Euro 2016 qualifying opener.
Speaking after the game, Spain national boss Vicente del Bosque said: “We have integrated Paco Alcacer into the squad. He has played two games, moved well and scored a goal. We will be following his development at Valencia with interest.”
Alcacer’s current club will want to ward off other sides sniffing around him, with Los Che planning to offer him a new contract. Chelsea are also thought to be tracking the 21-year-old as they seek long-term replacements for veteran Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres, who is on loan at AC Milan.
Shooting to prominence after netting times in Valencia’s run to the Europa League semi-finals last term, Alcacer is part of an all-Spanish strikeforce assembled by Portuguese coach Nuno Espirito Santo at the Mestalla.
Deadline day loan signing Alvaro Negredo, still owned by Manchester City although there is a commitment for Los Che to purchase next summer, joins him and fellow temporary capture Rodrigo Moreno (Benfica) on the Bats’ books.
Where Alcacer would fit into an Arsenal attack which contains Olivier Giroud (currently injured), Alexis Sanchez, Yaya Sanogo, Theo Walcott and late summer arrival Danny Welbeck remains to be seen. The Gunners are 20/1 chances to win the Champions League and kick the group stage off against Borussia Dortmund next week.