Arsenal have had a great start to the season. After a defeat to Villa on the first day of the season, the Gunners have bounced back to lead the Premier League. During that defeat Olivier Giroud scored the first of his five Premier League goals this season. He has also contributed four assists, making him a vital part of the team. Keeping Giroud fit has become a very important matter for the Gunners, as Nicklas Bendtner has not shown himself to be a capable enough deputy. Giroud is yet to miss a Premier League game this season, but even the most optimistic cannot believe he will be able to play every league game for Arsenal. For this reason there have been calls for Arsenal to delve into the transfer and sign a striker in January. January is a notoriously tough window to strengthen in as player’s prices are usually inflated. Despite this, which players of enough quality could Arsenal potentially buy?
Benzema and Arsenal Linked
Karim Benzema has long been sounded out as potential transfer target for the Gunners. The Frenchman is into his fifth season at Real Madrid, a club where he has averaged over twenty goals a season. Despite this, the Real Madrid fans have been on his back for some time. His substitution is often greeted with cheers from the home fans, yet manager Carlo Ancelotti has kept faith with him as apart from Alvaro Morata, he is Real Madrid’s only striker. A January move for Luis Suarez to the Bernabéu could pave the way for a Benzema move, and if that is the case, Arsenal will definitely be potential suitors. Whether Benzema would be a starter for Arsenal ahead of Giroud remains to be seen. Benzema only managed eleven league goals for Real Madrid last season, but has six in twelve this campaign.
Demba Ba and Arsenal Linked
Another player being linked with Arsenal is Chelsea’s Demba Ba. Ba only moved to Chelsea last January, but Mourinho’s preference of playing either Fernando Torres or Samuel Eto’o has seen him fall down the pecking order. Ba was the subject of a loan move by Arsenal towards the end of the summer transfer window, but Mourinho reportedly rejected the deal once he learned the Gunners had signed Ozil fearing a deadly partnership. With his limited game time, Ba is likely to try and push through a move in January. Mourinho is known for keeping all of his players happy, even those who are not playing, but Ba will see himself as first team player after his form in recent seasons and will want first team football. However, if Arsenal remain near the top of the league, it seems unlikely Mourinho will want to strengthen a rival.
After these two names, it becomes hard to find a player of real quality that Arsenal would be able to sign. Buying a backup player is never the way to go. It is best to buy a player of quality who will challenge the existing player in his position, bringing squad depth. Arsenal have suffered from buying a backup in the past with the signing of Park Chu-Young. The South Korean has only made one league appearance since his move to the Gunners in the summer of 2011. Wanting to avoid a similar player, it will not be wise for Arsenal to buy a designated back up.
Arsenal’s next best option will be to hope that Lukas Podolski returns to fitness. Podolski has operated in a central striking berth in his career, and started this season well scoring twice against Fulham before injury ruled him out. His return during the Christmas period could ease the burden on Giroud and give Arsenal another option.
It would be easy to look past Podolski but his goals tally from last season (shown on the right) is quite impressive for the time he had played. He scored a goal every 182 minutes which translates to a goal every two games – this is exactly what you’d expect from strikers. Add to this that Podolski also brings a creative threat to the team as he also created 9 goals last season giving him a goal involvement figure of every 99.95 minutes which is very impressive.
Arsenal also have the youngster Yaya Sanogo, who has also been on the side lines. Sanogo was viewed in France as a player of great potential, and could be another option for Wenger. Whatever option Arsene Wenger decides to go with, it will be important that Olivier Giroud remains fit and in form for Arsenal.