The transfer window always seems to be very tedious. Remember the halcyon days of haggling for Gary Cahill? Or even the time we considered Andre Santos as competent just because he had some caps for his national team. This time round, hell no! Acquisitions of Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy, David Ospina and Calum Chambers have been warmly welcomed, and rightly so. With Arsenal fans it’s fairly hard to come to an agreement on anything, and although the striker debate of this summer has probably been the hot topic on everyones timelines, I don’t see why it’s earned such prominence?
We have Olivier Giroud in place, stored away and ready to go after a frantic World Cup outing. I feel Giroud is a bit misunderstood – he’s a player that has the ability to let others flourish through exceptional hold-up play and a good understanding of how one-touch football operates. The lone striker position, in my opinion, is one the hardest roles to fulfil in modern football. Not only do you need to be an option for other players to utilise, you also need to make sure the opposition defenders are pressed in to making a decision quickly. Both of these things require a lot of energy, which Giroud certainly has, but only when he’s 100% fit and refreshed. Towards the back end of last season, he was clearly fatigued, and was under a lot of pressure to deliver, which seemed beyond his reach by that stage. As it would be for most lone strikers who play 40+ games a season.
The ending of the last paragraph is probably good evidence as to why we do need another striker, and I’m not saying for one second we don’t. All I’m trying to say is that with Sanchez’s arrival, it seems we have another option to call upon in that position, and certainly a different option. People talk about strikers needing to be alternative to each other, so you can mix it up when you’re not going good guns. I understand that, and I think Sanchez is of the perfect mould to be that alternative. What Giroud doesn’t have is sheer electric pace, he does have pace at times, as demonstrated in the World Cup. However, it’s not pacey pace pace. I guess it really depends what team you come up against when considering which striker to play.
Furthermore, Yaya Sanogo finally unearthed his shooting boots. Usually I don’t judge on a pre-season game – as they’re focused on assessing current squad players, and building up match fitness. Sanogo took his goals very well the other day, but previous performances against Bayern Munich and Liverpool assured to me that was always going to be a handful for opposition defences. I’m just glad he’s finally off the mark, and is not viewed as such a comical player now. So on paper; that’s Giroud, Sanchez and Sanogo. A healthy trio, and a fairly consistent injury record (excluding Yaya) between them.
It’s fair to say that 3 is maybe not enough. That’s where I feel the argument for another striker is valid. However, I’m not completely sold on the idea of this ‘top class’ striker everybody seems to be pining for. We have competent options and variety in that department as it stands, and also, the market isn’t exactly offering us a lot either. There’s Balotelli, who’s obviously tremendously gifted, but he never seems to fill everyone with confidence as they’re seems to be a screw loose in his head. Or there’s the often touted Edinson Cavani, who’s really really really talented. Even though we are rich, it’s hard to say that his price tag, and also his wage packet, are justifiable. If we are to acquire another striker, someone like Loic Remy wouldn’t bother me. He’s seasoned, he’s a better finisher than Giroud, and he offers that electricity that other players in our squad seem to have. He’s not someone you jump out your chair at, but he’d be a steady buy.
For me, a defensive midfielder is more of a priority than a striker. Mikel Arteta, in my view, has been one of, if not the most consistent performer for us in the past couple of years. I think he still has another season in him, but perhaps buying a young DM to fill that void come a couple of years would be a sensible idea. Goals haven’t been an issue for us, we always score and even through bad patches of form, we still hit 6 or 7 past a team now and again. Protection of the back four in Arteta’s absence has been more of an issue. Mathieu Flamini isn’t this swashbuckling and disciplined DM everyone makes him out to be. He’s very often lurking at the edge of the box waiting to pounce. And although his eagerness should be celebrated, his tactical awareness is miles inferior to Arteta’s.
I have faith in Arsene to rotate his strikers in accordance to the opposition. If the inevitable injury crisis does hit, then we have the personnel to cover all bases. Although another addition wouldn’t be scoffed at. Unless it’s Park – he really isn’t good at the soccer.
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