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Juan Mata sale means Arsenal could still land Chelsea misfit

| 07.04.2014

Despite the football transfer market being an open one, it’s extremely rare to see a club selling their best players to sides seen as close competition rivals.

Jose Mourinho doesn’t seem to follow those rules, as he demonstrated by letting Juan Mata join Manchester United during the January transfer window.

Although the Red Devils didn’t have a particularly strong foothold in the title race when the deal went down, that sale proved that every player at Chelsea has their price.

That’s news that shouldn’t put 4/9 FA Cup favourites Arsenal off enquiring into the availability of on-loan outcast Romelu Lukaku when all’s said and done in the current campaign, having struggled in the striking department for much of the season.

Olivier Giroud has been a constant pick in Arsene Wenger lineups this term, more out of necessity than form. While the Frenchman’s tally of 13 league goals is by no means a flop, the lack of options Wenger had at his disposal saw his main striker suffer from burnout quite early on in the year.

Having watched Lukaku weave his way towards goal before tucking the ball away in a fine solo effort against Arsenal at the weekend, Wenger will have to be hard pushed not to have been impressed with the Belgian’s performance in Everton’s 3-0 win over the Gunners.

The 20-year-old’s pace and power makes him a perfect option to play as a lone striker, which is a Wenger preference, and his seemingly dead-end career at Chelsea means he’ll be a highly sought after player in the summer following two successful loan spells at Premier League clubs.

His 17 league goals at West Brom last season have been followed up with 13 at Everton so far and his growing Premier League experience at such a young age makes the former Anderlecht man a better option than current Gunner deputy, Yaya Sanogo.

So long as Arsenal offer enough cash, there’s no reason why Chelsea wouldn’t let Lukaku leave and his arrival will only strengthen a potential title tilt next term.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.