Arsenal are reportedly leading the race to sign Fulham starlet Patrick Roberts and could be set to make a summer swoop for one of the Premier League’s most exciting youngsters. While Wenger is expected to be in the market for a number of first team players this summer, the Frenchman is rumoured to feel the signing of Roberts could prove to be as important as any business he does before next season.
The 17-year old, who only signed his first professional contract at Craven Cottage in February, made his senior debut for Fulham against Manchester City in March, following that up by playing nine minutes in the 3-1 defeat to Everton, results that further lengthened the Cottagers odds of surviving with Betfair.
Fulham manager Felix Magath has already highlighted Roberts talent, admitting he is more than willing to throw the youngster into the first team despite the club being Betfair favourites for relgation.
“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.”
Capable of playing as a winger or behind a striker, Roberts has been compared to Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who both joined Arsenal as teenagers before going on to establish themselves in the first team. Whispers coming out of the Emirates are even suggesting Roberts could be a more exciting prospect than either Walcott or Oxlade-Chamberlain were when they arrived at the club.
With Fulham seemingly destined for the drop, Arsenal’s hopes of signing Roberts may be significantly increased if the 17-year old feels he needs to stay at a Premier League club. That said, it might not be the worse thing if Roberts stays where he is and try and play regular first team football before making the move to a club the size of Arsenal.