With Jamie Vardy signing a new deal at Leicester City, it is time for Arsene Wenger to woo other strikers who might be persuaded to move to London. Olivier Giroud has hinted at some form post-season with the French National Team but his lack of pace and his bizarre ability to miss sitters is hard to miss. Theo Walcott offers pace but against teams that hold a deep line of defense, he struggles when there is no space to run into. Walcott’s fitness is also a concern that is shared with backup striker Danny Welbeck.
The striker market faces a supply problem of sorts with very few top quality strikers available. So who can Arsenal get to lead the line and apply the finishing touches to Mesut Ozil’s deliciously created chances? Here are three top-quality strikers that are allegedly being considered to be the Gunners’ primary marksman next season.
Gonzalo Higuain is a near-perfect striker with very few weaknesses. Higuain likes to play on the ground even though he is not a slouch in the air. He likes to get his teammates involved in build up play but his movement off the ball is slightly suspect as evidenced by the number of times he strays offside. But he has a genuine eye for goal supplemented by his capability to break into space with the ball and finish with either foot.
The Argentine was signed by Real Madrid from River Plate a decade ago. Ruud van Nistelrooy’s injury troubles in 2008 handed him a starting spot where he thrived by scoring 22 goals in La Liga that season. He followed it up by scoring 27 goals to be Madrid’s top scorer the next season.
After an injury-marred season in 2010-11, he came back to score 22 goals in the league besides also notching up a century of Real Madrid goals in the 2011-12 season. With Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema getting preference under Jose Mourinho, El Pipita became a squad player though he delivered goals whenever called upon.
Arsenal were interested in signing him in 2013 but Napoli met the €40 million valuation and Higuain was received in Naples as the heir to the throne long left vacant by his compatriot Diego Maradona. After two sub-20 goal seasons, the 28-year-old netted a record 36 Serie A goals last season besides scoring 4 goals in Argentina’s road to the final at the Copa America Centenario in USA.
Romelu Lukaku has the experience of four full top flight seasons leading the line and is one of only five players to score 50 goals in the Premier League before the age of 23 (The other four are Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen). Besides being an obvious target for airballs, Lukaku offers pace and shotpower that Giroud lacks. Lukaku has exhibited surprisingly deft footwork for such a big player besides showing a willingness to take defenses head-on with the ball at his feet. While he is still only 23 years old, his off-the-ball workrate is low and he has a tendency to lose the ball while trying to do too much.
Chelsea refused to hand the Belgian a starting spot after signing him in 2011, preferring to loan him out to West Bromwich Albion instead in 2012. Lukaku responded by scoring more league goals than any Chelsea player. He was surprisingly loaned out to Everton after the return of Mourinho to Chelsea, with the much older Samuel Eto’o being drafted in on a free transfer.
Roberto Martinez took him to Everton on a permanent deal in 2014 for £28 million and Lukaku has managed to score at least 10 league goals in his last four seasons. He scored a career-best 18 goals last season and it is an exciting prospect that he can still learn more and get better. While he got off to a poor start at Euro 2016 in France, he responded well by scoring a brace in Belgium’s second game against Ireland.
Alvaro Morata is not an out-and-out goalscorer. He is a modern-day striker who likes to play off his teammates, enabling others to score more than he scores. Morata stretches opposition defenses out of shape with his movement and is an assured presence on the ball. While he offers most of what Giroud offers, his exceptional work-rate means he is willing to drop deep and win the ball for his team. Morata’s style of holdup play relies more on dribbling than strength and he brings plenty of experience playing with some high quality midfielders like Luka Modric, Andrea Pirlo and Paul Pogba among others in the last three seasons.
Morata struggled to break into a Real Madrid team that was bursting with expensively procured attacking talent though he was a tireless contributor to the team whenever he was handed the chance. The move to Juventus for €20 million in 2014 meant he got more first-team action and he has been a regular in the team that won the domestic double in the last two seasons.
The Spaniard was also influential with key goals in the knock-out stages when Juventus finished Champions League runners-up in 2015. However, the 23-year-old is yet to have a top flight season where he has scored more than 10 league goals though injuries are partially responsible. Real Madrid triggered his buy-back clause of €30 million last week soon after his brace for the national team against Turkey at Euro 2016 in France.