I loved the "striking out" article posted earlier on here, it shared a lot of what was going through my head all of this past month. During the course of January I had been fiddling with an idea about what really is going through Wenger's mind regarding our apparent lack of strikers, and if you may allow me, I'd like to share these thoughts.
I started thinking that it seemed like a very long time ago that I personally didn't feel we needed a striker in a transfer window, actually as I started looking at our squad down the years I realized that the last season we weren't in need of a striker was the 05/06 season! thats almost 8 years, or in transfer terms, that's 15 transfer windows. Think about it, after Henry had put pen to paper following the champions league final, he got injured at the world cup, so did van persie. So with only Adebayour as a fit senior striker Wenger went out to try and sign a striker,
Here's a list of his Striker acquisitions since that summer,
1-Julio Baptista (free exchange loan) Goals: 10
2-Eduardo ( 8 million ) Goals : 21
3-Chamakh ( Free ) Goals : 14
4-Park ( 5 million ) Goals : 1
5-Joel Campbell ( ? ) Goals : 0
6-Henry (short term loan ) Goals : 3 (dubious goal my ass)
7-Giroud ( 12 million ) Goals : 31
You could say that during this period we had other 1st choice strikers, but really both Adebayour & Van Persie only gave us 18 months each of being on top form &/or uninjured. Anyway so in 8 years Wenger has signed 7 striker worth a total of 25 million or 3.5M each. They have scored a combined total of 77 goals, or 9 goals a season, or 11 goals each.....that's just woeful, of course a player like campbell hasn't played yet so my calculations are not the most accurate but still if you compare those strikers with say for example the midfielders that Wenger signed during that same period or even the defenders he signed you'll see that we haven't actually signed a pretty decent striker for a long time with the exception of Giroud obviously.
What I think Wenger realized is that you can only get a great striker by one of two ways, you either pay 30M+ for a ready made one or you get a young player and mold him into a clinical striker a la Henry and Robin. Hence the failed bid last summer for Suarez and Higuain and even before that when it was said that he was trying to get Cavani last winter. And since almost every 30m+ striker has either just changed his club last summer or signed a new deal there wasn't really anyone to buy this window, except for Draxler who falls in the latter category of the striker i.e a potential to mold, but with a price tag of the first category.
Draxler, I think, is Wenger's 2nd choice he'd rather get a ready made striker with the money he now has or atleast get him for a price that is reasonable. That's why I believe that come next summer we will be looking at the likes of Cavani for example or seeing how much Suarezs' release clause is if Liverpool fail to get top 4. Or maybe even Benzema if Real get Suarez, & Draxler will be plan B considering how expensive an experiment he'll be by then.
Look Arsene Wenger isn't stupid, he knows that Giroud isn't clinical enough, he knows that with a clinical striker he'll be 2nd choice. That's why I think this season he told him to act as our lynch pin. If you look at how Giroud used to play for montpellier or even for us in the beginning of last season you'll see he was always trying to run in behind defenders, but this season he seems to be almost always at the edge of the penalty area with his back to goal. What I think Wenger did, is that when he realized he wouldn't get Suarez he started looking at midfielders, Di Maria first then Real offered Ozil and he snapped him up. He decided that instead of having all those midfielders trying to set up chances for one player, he'd have those players taking these chances.
He decided to utilize Giroud's better attributes to service our attacking midfielders, and it worked. every midfield attacking player has scored goals, especially Ramsey of course. Some might say well he couldn't have imagined that Ramsey would score all these goals, well just in April of last season Wenger said that once he started scoring he wont stop, and so it was.
What I'm trying to say is that I don't think we were in for a striker this window, I wouldn't pay over 20M for Draxler IF Wenger wanted to mold him into a striker, & if he thinks that Draxler is just a midfielder/winger then I don't think we really need him. I'm saying that come next summer we will try to get a big name striker.
Mean Lean's Response
Strikers are in demand, every club wants the best strikers because they can make the difference. Arsene clearly wanted a top of the range striker in the summer. My guess is that Arsene wanted Lukas Podolski as his first choice striker with Oliver Giroud has his back up after Robin van Persie was sold to Manchester United. Podolski started his first game as the central striker against Sunderland but it soon became apparent that he couldn't do what was required for an Arsenal centre forward. Oliver Giroud had done more in far less time than the German did for over an hour. So from having two new strikers, it soon changed to one and an attacking wide player instead. That is just guess work on my part mind.
While I agree that Giroud's finishing needs work, I think Giroud's contribution to this team is much more than just his goals output. A little like Tomas Rosicky his contribution is not always written in black and white on the stats board. I wonder what would have happened had we signed Higuain. There can be little doubt that he is a better finisher but it could well be a case of measuring his (potentially) extra goals against Giroud's pressing of the opposition, his defensive work from set pieces, his ability to be a very important outlet for the team, instead of often going missing during games like Higuain tends to do.
This isn't to say that we couldn't do with another striker. We do but what type of striker is what I am interested in and how that striker works in our system. We will more than likely get to see that with our eyes come the summer. In the meantime, let us go and finish the season the best we can and hopefully pick up some silverware.