Karim Benzema, Alexandre Lacazette and Fernando Llorente have all been named as Arsenal targets over the last one month. On paper, yes. Signing any one of them would be a good acquisition. But football isn’t played on paper. That’s when the questions arise about Arsenal’s striker situation. Which one among them is the player we actually need? Or are the available ones enough to fetch us a Premier League title?. Firstly, let’s take a look at the options that are available for us as of now.
Olivier Giroud – We saw last season that he has the potential to score 20+ goals in a PL season because he scored 14 in spite of a significant period on the sidelines. But what we also saw was his barren run towards the end of last season that ended up in Theo Walcott being chosen over him for the all important FA Cup final. Giroud was supposed to be our numero uno striker, but seeing him dropped for the FA Cup final wasn’t particularly a good sign. Yet, his case can be justified by claiming that his job is not just goal scoring and that he focuses equally on laying it off for his teammates, particularly Aaron Ramsey, to make those runs into the box and do the goal scoring. One aspect in which Giroud can be given full marks is the fact that he delivered for us in crucial matches, barring the home fixture against Monaco. The question, however, remains to be if he is capable of winning us a Premier League title.
Theo Walcott – Many claim that he is a 20+ goals a season player if not for his injuries. He has amazing goal scoring instincts and all that, but is it wise to rely on a winger converted into a striker to deliver us a PL title? Yes, Wenger was pretty successful with Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie. However, one of the main reasons why Wenger was successful with Henry and RVP was that they adapted to the position very easily. And not everyone can do that. Not undermining Walcott in any manner, but it’s a fact that he hasn’t been tested enough in the striker position, and even when was tested there in the past, the results weren’t particularly positive. One might ask, as to why he cannot be tested in that position for one season properly and examine the results. Honestly, this isn’t the time to do any experimentation. It’s high time we win the Premier League. So Theo Walcott doesn’t seem to be a convincing option either.
Danny Welbeck – 16 million pounds for a homegrown 24 year old player is certainly a bargain considering the potential that Danny Welbeck holds. He and new signing Petr Cech happen to be only ones with a PL medal in our squad. So he has an idea about what it takes to win the PL. But there still isn’t any clarity on the purpose of buying Danny Welbeck. His tremendous workrate and ability to help defensively say that he was bought to play on the wings. His stint as CF in the absence of Olivier Giroud says that he was bought as a back up and understudy of the French targetman. However, his stats of just 4 goals in 26 games and none in the second half of the season don’t give a good impression about his goal scoring skills. He is a useful player on the pitch, but not a talisman. We have enough useful players. A talisman is what we need. And Danny Welbeck has a lot of work to do if he has to be our talisman.
We have immense potential in our squad and to some extent, an overloaded midfield. To transform this squad into a title winning one, the key is rotation. Wenger right now faces a situation that Roberto Mancini faced in the 11/12. Too many talented players who are all starting XI material. But how to transform them into a title winning squad, the answer is rotation. Wenger has to adopt an intense rotation policy which will also help avoid fatigue and injuries, at the same time it will also help utilize the talent of every first team player available in the squad. Even though Mancini had Dzeko, Balotelli and Tevez, he knew that he needed that striker who could be decisive in delivering the PL title and as a result bought Aguero. He also managed to use them properly with his dynamic rotation policy, with the Tevez exile reducing his headache.
Back to the point, none of the three sensible options we have seem to be convincing in helping us win the PL. The most logical answer to this would be to go for an upgrade. A proven goal scorer playing for a top club is what we need. With Benitez appearing to prefer Ronaldo at CF for the coming season, Benzema’s importance seems to be reducing in Real Madrid. Benzema, as the whole world knows, is a clinical and prolific goal scorer who was very unfortunate to be pushed off the spotlight because of the phenomenon called Cristiano Ronaldo. He has it him to succeed here at Arsenal with his former teammate Mesut Ozil, along with Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla who are always ready to supply. Edinson Cavani, if available at a reasonable price, is my choice and is an even better option to Karim Benzema. His workrate and influence on the game is terrific and Arsene Wenger would definitely know how to extract the best out of him. Robert Lewandowski, practically speaking is far fetched considering that Bayern don’t have anyone to replace him with. Alexandre Lacazette is a player who proved himself only in the French League. He might turn out to be an even better player at Arsenal, but again, it’s a big gamble to sign him.
In today’s inflated market, the most sensible options are Benzema and Cavani. Nevertheless, we all know the magic Arsene Wenger is capable of weaving, with the mere faith that he shows on his players. All said and done, he is a better judge than you and me. At the end of it all, whether a striker is being bought or not, rotation is a must, otherwise there is no point in having a squad with such an unbelievable squad depth. All of are eagerly waiting for the new season to begin. Lets just hope that Wenger surprises us with some new signings before the season begins.