With all the talk of loaning inexperienced strikers, buying midfielders and turning them into strikers and buying strikers who are not available or who won’t be released by their clubs until perhaps the summer, there is a light at the end of the tunnel if only Arsene wishes to see it.
Wenger recently outlined what he is looking for in a striker. This blueprint striker, it seems, must be able to complement Giroud, play the Giroud role or play off to the left or right of centre. Hold up play is also very important, as the style of play we adopt is to have the striker receive the ball, lay it off, or control it and have the physical strength to hold off defenders and bring the oncoming midfielders into play. The role that Giroud plays for the team is often much undervalued in it’s importance to our system.
Arsenal have been linked with various strikers from around the globe recently to fill the glaring void of a back up striker needed in our squad. There have been several strikers linked and I’d like to look at some of the more likely candidates.
Alvaro Morata: One rumour that won’t go away is a loan move for Real Madrid’s young striker Alvaro Morata. A very skilful young man, with a deft touch and bags of pace and confidence. If I was told that Arsenal have signed him on a permanent basis I would say brilliant, but I would consider him as an understudy or one for the future. How long did it take Giroud to learn how to play like Giroud? The striker who might come in will have to be physically able to handle the rigours of playing in the EPL and I don‘t think that Morata could at this stage. How would young Morata handle a Robert Huth or Ryan Shawcross ‘Hospital Special’? I don‘t think he could as he is not an English type player and is not, in any sense, the finished article.
Leaving that aside, it must be considered that the following has been said by those concerned. Morata himself was quoted as saying –“I’m happy at Real and want to stay and fight for my place in this team”.
His Club Manager, Carlo Ancelotti was later quoted as saying – “Morata is going nowhere, he is an important player for me in the second half of the season”.
Arsene Wenger recently said, with regard to Morata – “There has been no contact with Real Madrid”.
For these reasons I don’t believe Morata will move to Arsenal in this window and not on loan at any stage.
Jackson Martinez: Martinez has just about everything. Scores goals with both feet and is an excellent header of the ball. He is physically impressive and is built to be able to handle anything the EPL might throw at him. Light on his feet for a big man, so light in fact that the Porto fans have nicknamed him cha-cha-cha. Would take the EPL by storm, but is he an Arsenal type player? It’s known that his passing game is just about average and his decision making and final ball often lets him down (a la Gervinho), resulting in failed attacks that would leave his team in the lightning fast EPL open to counter attacks. At €33M he could be a real steal, but will Arsne pay it? I don’t think so. Arsenal players must be able to find a team-mate with every pass.
Diego Costa: Wenger described him as a beast of a player and I have to say I agree. He has it all, including the physical presence and passing game needed by Arsenal. So why don’t we buy him? It‘s because his doesn’t want to move and Atletico don’t want to sell him at the moment. Atletico are still involved in the CL and are in with a shout of winning the La Liga title for the first time since 1996. There would be riots if Atletico were to sell him. To put it in perspective, roll back the clock ten years, Arsenal are top of the league and in with a chance of winning the CL. Then on 31st January, Arsenal make the announcement that they’ve sold Henry. Get the picture? I would love to see Costa in an Arsenal Jersey, but it won’t happen before August.
Now we come to a player who hasn’t had much of a mention, maybe a quiet whisper here and there, but who I think would be ideal as a compliment to Giroud.
Ezequiel Lavezzi: An absolute flyer of a player, in the Theo Walcott mould, Lavezzi is technically gifted and will run himself into the ground for his team. He currently plies his trade with PSG in the French Ligue 1 and is an Argentine International. At 28 he is in his prime and can make goals and score them himself when given the chance. More physically imposing than Walcott (he has only had 3 injuries in the past 3 seasons and none that kept him out for more than 3 weeks), he can hold the ball up, play killer passes or use his speed to destroy defences.
What’s the hitch you ask? As said he is a PSG player. However Lavezzi is not a happy camper at PSG as he receives a lot less playing time than his skills merit and of the 15 Ligue 1 games he was involved in this season, he was subbed off in 11 and subbed on in 4. He is also competing for a place with Cavani and Ibrahimovic. He would be a fantastic addition to the Arsenal squad.
With the World Cup looming he might be persuaded to move to the Emirates for more playing time and with Wenger‘s good relationship with PSG, he might be able to persuade them to let him go for about £22m. Go on Arsene – make the call.