Sunday, 17 July 2016

Arsenal Need A Striker: The Candidates

As pre-season football begins and players return to their clubs, it's been well publicised that Arsenal still haven't addressed their striker problem. After a failed attempt to lure Jamie Vardy away from Leicester City, the rumours of who Arsene Wenger has targeted next have spun out of control. It seems like every bloke In Europe with two legs has been linked to be Arsenal's next number 9.

I thought I'd have a quick look at the candidates still left on the market to become Arsenal's new striker. Remember, the club already have a very good forward in Olivier Giroud, but it's become clear that despite being a very competent, sometimes quite brilliant player, a club of Arsenal's means need someone with superior talent. Let's take a look at the main three guys who are still out there:

Gonzalo Higuain

Currently considered by most to be Arsenal's number one target, the Argentinian forward is in his prime and guarantees goals. I liken him to Giroud a bit, in that target man fashion, but unlike our Frenchman, Higuain has a ruthless streak in front of goal. He's not nearly as wasteful, and scored 36 goals in Serie A last season, winning Italy's Capocannoniere award (golden boot) and equalling Gino Rossetti's record from the 1928/29 season. He's a strong, physical forward that could feast on the defences of the Premier League. Arsenal were linked with him 3 years ago, when he was still a Real Madrid player, but that deal never materialised yet the interest has never diminished. Napoli's radio station have indicated Higuain is on his way to London and the transfer is all but done.

The buzz right now is that Arsenal are considering sending Giroud to Napoli along with €50m for Higuain, a move Napoli are apparently interested in. This transfer would make sense for Arsenal, as having two very similar forwards in the squad would be pointless, sad as it would be to lose Giroud. Napoli have reportedly suggested Higuain would cost over £80 million to buy outright, a ludicrous sum for a player of his age. That's a massive amount of money but is he worth it? His record in recent years would suggest so, as he is arguably one of the top 5 attacking players in the world when you look at how many goals he has scored. If the club have the money to spend then I think they should go all out and bring Higuain to North London. It would definitely be the statement signing that a lot of fans have been crying out for.

Mauro Icardi

The 23 year-old Inter Milan striker has been linked to join the Gunners according to his agent, who happens to be his wife also. The Argentinian had a decent 2015/16 season, netting 16 goals, not quite as good as the year before when he scored 22. However, for a player of his age, that's not a bad return and Icardi is starting to show consistency as he matures. If Arsenal were to bring him to the club, he would not be the finished product many fans crave but would still be considered an excellent addition.

If a deal for Higuain cannot be reached then Icardi would certainly be a suitable alternative. For a start he would cost significantly less than Higuain, and could be bought for a fee around £30 million, although I'm sure Inter would demand more for their captain. Not only would Icardi cost less, Arsenal would also be getting a longer-term investment, as the forward is just 23 years-old so time is on his side. Icardi does come with a reputation of being somewhat of a "wild child" but I am certain he would be nothing Arsene Wenger couldn't handle. A change of club, country and culture could work wonders for Icardi.  I would be happy if Arsenal could bring in a player of his quality, despite not being as accomplished as Higuain.

Alexander Lacazette

A player who has been linked to Arsenal for what seems like an eternity, Lacazette looks closer to leaving Lyon this summer than ever before. He just might not be leaving for Arsenal, that's all. It's been the on-again, off-again love affair of the last few transfer windows and the lightning-quick Frenchman has always seemed like a natural fit for the Gunners yet Arsene Wenger has never pulled the trigger on bringing the 25 year-old to the club. You've got to think Wenger has his concerns over Lacazette, or perhaps it could be his price-tag that has deterred the boss.

Lyon apparently want over £42 million for Lacazette which is quite steep. His record in recent years is impressive however, with 48 goals in Ligue 1 in the past 2 seasons, so it would suggest Lacazette merits that investment. And yet, scoring goals in the generous Ligue 1 doesn't necessarily mean he'll bring that kind of form to the Premier League. Lacazette would be an expensive gamble for sure but his style of play and all that pace suggests he would fit well into this current Arsenal team. Rumours this morning suggest Arsenal have submitted a bid to Lyon that matches their price, but we'll have to wait and see if there's any truth to that. I would definitely welcome Lacazette to Arsenal but he would have to hit the ground running to starting paying back his large transfer fee.


Those are the three main candidates in the running to become Arsenal's new striker and whichever man signs for the club, the pressure will be on them immediately to deliver the goods. The higher the price, the higher the expectations. I'd happily take any of them but Higuain would be the ideal option for me.

Thanks for reading.