Yet again, Wigan Athletic look set to profit from the work of Steve Bruce’s South and Central American scouting department. Having sold the previously unknown likes of Antonio Valencia and Wilson Palacios for a combined fee of £28m, the DW Stadium side are anticipating the lucrative departure of Hugo Rodallega. The Colombia international, valued at around £15m, is said to have attracted admiring glances from North London, having told The Sun that “I don’t know if I’ll stay at Wigan but I do know Arsenal have made an offer for me.”
Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has paved the way for Rodallega’s exit, stating that the Lancashire side won’t stand in his way if a big club comeknocking. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is said to have a reasonable amount of money to spend this summer, but would a swoop for the Colombia international represent a good move for his club?
Having arrived in England from Mexican side Necaxa as a virtual nobody less than 18 months ago, it is safe to say that Hugo Rodallega has made a big impression at the DW Stadium. In 47 Premier League starts, Rodallega has scored 13 goals and racked up four assists, a respectable return for a newly-acclimatised player featuring for a perennially struggling side. Statistics aside, the Colombian has impressed with his pace, movement and ability to hold up the ball. In addition to this, Rodallega is a versatile operator, confident enough to play just off the main striker, as a lone striker, or on the wing.
It is no surprise to hear that a club the size of Arsenal are interested in Rodallega, but would he really fit in at the Emirates? Even in the absence of main striker Robin van Persie, the attacking department is one area at Arsenal that appears to be well-stocked, with the likes of Eduardo, Carlos Vela, Nicklas Bendtner, Andrei Arshavin and Marouane Chamakh all capable of playing up front. In addition to this, winger Theo Walcott is being groomed to play as a centre-forward, and the Gunners have a wealth of young attacking talent set to knock upon the first-team door.
Arsenal fans may be dismayed by the desire of their boss to spend a large chunk of their summer budget upon an area that is already blessed with an abundance of talent. Desperately in need of a top-class goalkeeper and a holding midfielder (as well as potentially having to find a replacement for Cesc Fabregas), the signing of Rodallega would do little to allay fears that Wenger will not seek to reinforce the weak areas within Arsenal’s squad. Whilst Rodallega is undoubtedly a good player, I personally do not feel that he is necessarily needed at the Emirates.
Follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/zarifrasul