Arsenal make enquiry for Celta Vigo star Nolito

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The Mirror's Ed Maylon specialises in La Liga football, so we have good reason to believe he hasn't pulled what follows out of thin air. The good news is that it appears Arsene Wenger has finally decided to sign a La Liga striker. The bad news is, he doesn't play for Real Madrid.

His name is Nolito and, while he has nothing like the kind of reputation that Karim Benzema boasts, the Celta Vigo star has kept pace with the Frenchman's attacking record over the past 18 months.


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Indeed, his haul of 21 goals and 18 assists in his last 50 La Liga games has attracted the attention of football's biggest clubs, including Barcelona. He has broken into Spain's national squad and featured against England last month.

But Barcelona have a mini financial crisis going on (see here) and can't afford to pay Nolito's £15million release clause. That has given Arsenal plenty of encouragement and Wenger has launched an enquiry in Celta Vigo's direction as a result.

We already know what the La Liga club will say: pay the release clause, not a penny less. But £15m is a reasonable price for one of Spain's most in-form players, especially when Wenger faced a £40m bill to sign Benzema in the summer.

The report states that Nolito would prefer a move to Barcelona (who wouldn't?) but is open to the idea of moving to north London. Arsenal's case is helped significantly by the fact that they could offer him a wage rise to the tune of 250%. Arsenal fans can thank BT Sport and Sky for that.

Wonder strike

If true, it signifies the start of what could be a busy window for the Gunners. Wenger has seen his squad decimated by injuries and is also reportedly ready to move for a defensive midfielder after losing Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla for the long term.

Despite the injury crisis, Arsenal remain one of the favourites to win the Premier League title and Wenger may be ready to pull out all the stops to secure short-term signings like Nolito in order to strengthen their bid.

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