Arsene Wenger sets his sights on Fulham starlet Patrick Roberts
Published 04/04/2014 | 10:03
Arsenal are chasing Fulham teenager Patrick Roberts, who is considered one of the best young talents in the country.
Roberts made his Fulham senior debut as a substitute away at Manchester City last month and also played nine minutes of the 3-1 defeat to Everton.
The 17-year-old forward only signed his first professional contract with Fulham in February. That deal runs until 2016, but it has not put off Arsenal.
Roberts can play behind a central striker or come in from the right and has impressed Arsenal scouts with his dribbling and technique. Manchester United are also big fans.
Arsenal signed Theo Walcott in a deal worth a revised £9.1m and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for £15 million as teenagers from Southampton, and club scouts believe Roberts can be just as good.
Despite making a substitute appearance for Fulham's first team against Everton on Sunday, Roberts played in the FA Youth Cup first-leg semi-final draw with Reading on Tuesday night and scored the equalising goal.
Having stepped up from the Under-16s, Roberts has scored four goals in nine appearances for England's Under-17s.
Despite the fact Fulham are bottom of the Premier League table, manager Felix Magath has made it clear he will give Roberts plenty of first-team experience – whether it is in the top flight or the Championship.
"Pat is a very big talent and he will have a great career in front of him, so I think it is good for him to make the experience now in the Premier League, so he will get used to it," said Magath.
"He will be a player that we need in the future."
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has confirmed he has been handed an injury boost ahead of Sunday's vital Premier League game against fifth-placed Everton.
Aaron Ramsey, who has been out since Boxing Day with a thigh injury, has returned to full training and is expected to be in the Arsenal squad that travels to Goodison Park.
"Aaron and Nacho Monreal are back training with the squad, so that is good news," said Wenger.
"Hopefully they will be available for Sunday. Diaby is back on the pitches, so that is good news.
"At the moment that is all because the other injured players are not back, not Jack Wilshere, not Mesut Ozil."