Arsenal face fight to land South American starlet

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Arsenal face competition from Italian giants Inter Milan in the race to sign Uruguayan international Abel Hernandez.

The 20-year-old Palermo striker was first linked with a move to north London in the closing stages of the transfer window, when Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was thought to be considering a deadline day move for the player.

It never materialised, but the Gunners are still thought to be keen on the player. So too is Inter Milan boss Rafa Benitez who, according to Italian publication Tuttosport, sees Hernandez as the ideal replacement for Mario Balotelli.

Hernandez made his senior debut for homeland club Central Espano in the 2007/08 season, and made an instant impact with five goals in four games for the Primera Division outfit.

Uruguayan giants Penarol signed the player immediately that summer, but after half a season with the club Serie ‘A’ side Palermo signed the player.

Injury blighted Hernandez’s start with the Rosanero after an impressive debut in March ’09, but the striker would become a regular at the Stadio Renzo Barbera thanks to a solid comeback at the end of last term.

Dubbed ‘the jewel’, Frenchman Wenger is thought to have been monitoring the player as far back as 2009, with Arsenal scouting Hernandez during the FIFA U20 World Cup.

With a continuing policy of bringing young talent to the Emirates, Wenger recognised Hernandez as another possible starlet who could make the grade at reserve and then first team level with Arsenal.

Competition for the player will now be stronger after failing to land the player in the summer window, and Arsenal may be forced into a bidding war with the Nerazzurri if they wish to bring the player to the Premier League.

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