According to a report from Metro Sport, the Gunners remain in the hunt for the 18-year-old striker, but they've been joined in that race by the Red Devils, one of the few clubs in England who can more than match any offer the Gunners present to the League 1 side.
But, Clayton has emerged as a special talent, and is exactly the kind of player Arsenal needs to chase at this stage of the game.
Remember back when Arsenal was known as a club that chased and developed young players, rather than signing underappreciated players in their primes? Back then, the Gunners were signing players like Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Theo Walcott and plenty of others, and developing them into the stars they are now.
Clayton has that kind of potential. He's netted four goals in 16 matches this season, just a year after scoring five goals in 30 matches. In other words, he's getting better with age, and at just 18 years old, there's still plenty of time for him to develop into the superstar many have pegged him as.
On top of that, the Gunners' recent dismal offensive efforts have brought questions about their offensive firepower to the forefront once again. While the likes of Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Gervinho have gone on scoring binges, none has proven to be a consistent scorer as of yet. Giroud still could (Arsenal haven't exactly given him consistent minutes in his first season), but unless Podolski or Gervinho finds his goal scoring form on a consistent basis, the Gunners are still in need of a consistent, strong, goal-scoring forward.
While it won't be for another season or two, Clayton has the talent to become that striker. He's skilled with the ball at his feet and creates chances as well as any young striker in the English game. While Crewe likely won't give him up cheaply, Arsenal have the disposable income to make a sizable bid on him, and with Wenger's skills at developing young talent, the Gunners would likely be able to turn him into a star.
Sure, United complicates things with the kind of cash they're capable of throwing at a player like Clayton, but Arsenal now have the resources to match them in this race. In the end, Clayton's talents make him well worth the effort.
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