With Giroud, Walcott and Podolski all going public with their desire to play the central striking role at Arsenal does Wenger really need another?
After the excellences of a certain Dutchman over the previous seasons at the Emirates many people seem to believe that Arsenal are in need of such a talismanic figure.
Van Persie was phenomenal and is most probably the best in the business at getting goals, so if Wenger were to buy another striker they would walk through the door with a whole amount of expectation on their shoulders even before their first training session.
Times have not been great for Arsenal since the departure of van Persie, who was not only the goal scorer, but the only remaining player to have won a trophy with the club and also the captain. Therefore it’s easy to draw the comparisons saying Arsenal need a goal scorer extraordinaire.
However Arsenal are an evolving force, like others in the Premier League, examples being Chelsea and Liverpool; all are in transition.
Arsenal are no longer the same side.
They did not only lose their goal scorer in the summer but their creative force, Alex Song, who also gave the side steel in midfield. Now though there has been the rise of Santi Cazorla, who plays a lot closer to the main man up top but does not have the same defensive attitude as his predecessor.
Arsenal now have more emphasis the wide men, Walcott and Podolski, who have had good seasons, with Podolski still trying to get to grip with the league completely, and the focal point Giroud having a different style to van Persie, which has led to unfair criticism of the Frenchman.
Walcott has also recently played upfront against Reading, in which Cazorla grabbed a hat trick and Theo and Podolski also got on the scoresheet. This would suggest it’s not scoring goals that is holding Arsenal back having scored five against rivals Tottenham earlier on in the season too.
With the arrival of Cazorla Arsenal have been found wanting in midfield against hungrier opposition, never more so apparent than against Bradford in the Capital One Cup Quarter Final. Wenger has never really got to grips with the departure of Vieira as a midfield general, and is something that Arsenal could really do with.
Since Song left, Arteta has played the deeper midfield role, with Wenger even commenting that the ‘Makelele role’ from a defensive midfield is not as required as many believe it is.
However look at recently successful sides; Chelsea play with Mikel, although not popular does his job for the side, Man City have Yaya Toure, who is blessed with great attacking talents too, even Real Madrid have Khedira. It proves successful sides still have a man to break the play down.
It could even be argued that last season Manchester United were losing ground in the title race, Paul Scholes comes back and United could have won the league but for goal difference.
Arsenal have the players to pass, but could do with someone to break up the play. Wilshere gives energy, Cazorla the acute passing and shooting from distance, but where is the strength and the ugly side to the midfield.
Perhaps Diaby? Maybe, but he’s too frequently on the treatment table.
Instead of focusing on a new striker it is this midfield player that is needed. Who though that is the question.
The players Arsenal could target, would not be players in top four sides already, but those hungry and ready to step up to the next level.
Cheick Tiote a player often linked with Chelsea or Manchester United would be great. It would show the others that Arsenal mean business and would definitely help the defence also.
Arsenal may though find themselves held to ransom, so maybe could look north of the border to Glasgow. Celtic’s young Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama, would be hungry and offer Champions League experience. Although he has had a £25 million price tag put on him due to his value to Celtic, proving it in his display in the win over Barcelona, grabbing the opening goal.
The last potential target would be Mohammed Diame of West Ham, who is older than the previous two but is believed to have a buyout clause in the region of £4 million. This would be the cheaper option for Wenger, however it may be better for Arsenal to spend that bit extra on a higher quality player.
A defensive minded midfield player would help seal some of cracks over the defensive problems too, especially those of Per Mertesacker’s lack of speed, as on running players from deep could be stopped.
The defence comes in for much criticism and could really do with work on their set-pieces, something that hasn’t changed for years, but an anchorman in midfield would help any mishaps in open play, although a tall player, like Wanyama would come in handy at set pieces.
The final answer to the question of whether Wenger needs a striker is try what he has first, Walcott has only had a limited time upfront and would be the answer to a speedy striker who can run in behind; and we’ve all seen the boy can finish.
Podolski offers power and lethal finishing with the ball played to feet, as shown scoring 18 Bundesliga goals last season as Cologne were relegated, and Giroud has the ability in the air as well as on the floor to scare most defences in the league also.
Maybe then Wenger who be better suited to targeting a new winger, with Gervinho and Arshavin obviously not up to the task, and with Chamberlain still developing.