I stand by my assertion a couple of weeks ago here on EPL Index that Arsenal may have actually dodged a bullet by missing out on Jamie Vardy. I felt then, and still do now, that he didn’t have the movement and technique to suit Arsenal and the different style that they play, usually against compact defences. I believe that although he was not involved in all England’s matches at Euro 2016, when he did play against a deep block, he struggled to engineer space for himself or show the necessary movement to suggest he would solve Arsenal’s striker problems; not to mention his technique letting him down on the two occasions he was put through one on one. After his exploits at his club side last season I was ready to use my bet365 sign up bonus and bet on him finishing but it was not to be.
What is clear is that Wenger wants to reinforce his attack and sees pace as a key component to contrast the qualities that Olivier Giroud offers. So, with the Vardy deal no longer happening, what alternatives are plausible to improve the striking option for the Gunners? After watching how cleverly Shane Long engineered that penalty for Republic Of Ireland against France, I could be mischievous and suggest he would be a viable ‘Premier League proven’ alternative to Vardy.
I don’t want to be accused of trolling, so here are a few serious suggestions:
The 25 year old Lyon hitman has really come to the fore and developed over the past couple of seasons, scoring 48 league goals in 66 matches in that time. Certainly an impressive haul and his pace and technique would make him fit the bill. In recent days, reports have started to surface linking Arsenal with a move for the French striker with a fee in the region of £40m speculated. Despite being more expensive, at four years younger than Vardy, with better technique, link up play and the aforementioned pace, Lacazette would represent a better investment for Arsenal.
The Real Madrid forward’s progress has stalled somewhat since bursting onto the scene a few years ago and a move could be exactly what he needs to be given the opportunity to fulfil his potential. Usually seen more as a wide forward, Jese could facilitate Alexis Sanchez being used more centrally for Arsenal and increase Arsene Wenger’s options and flexibility. Jese’s speed and technique make him a threat and with Morata heading back to Real Madrid, perhaps Jese could be available for a good price. The 23 year old may be seen as something of a gamble, but the raw materials he possesses mean he could be an exciting and fantastic investment for the Gunners with his ability, versatility and having a point to prove.
The AZ Alkmaar striker has had a whirlwind 12 months that has seen him rise from relative obscurity to scoring 27 Eredivisie goals and playing for Holland. Although he does not possess the pace of the other alternatives, he does have some very nice movement and looks a good finisher. He really gets “in the zone” when he’s in the box, hence the high number of shots he has and this up-and-comer could yet be a very canny signing and at 22, has plenty of time to improve.
The former Manchester United striker has improved his all round game tremendously since leaving Old Trafford. In particular, his movement has stepped up a gear and rather than just be an impact substitute, he is now an influential player from the start. He quickly became a key component in the Bayer Leverkusen attack and his 17 Bundesliga goals helped the club secure Champions League football. Having recently turned 28, he is similar in age to Vardy and also offers the threat of pace, but he is a more clinical finisher than the Leicester striker and more adept at penetrating deep defences. Although Leverkusen paid €10m for his services just one year ago, the club are also smart when it comes to selling, so they would expect to more than double their money for one of their prized assets, but Hernandez could be an astute signing for Arsenal.
Obviously Jese Rodriguez minutes on the pitch skew his goal tally, so to make it truly representative, I’ve used the per 90 method for comparison and it shows that despite the varying age and likely price tags of the alternatives I’ve listed, their profiles fit as viable alternatives. What I think is interesting to note is that all have scored the vast majority of their goals inside the box, so as Arsenal search for an alternative to Vardy, any one of the four I’ve listed could just fit the bill for Arsene Wenger