According to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, the best strikers in the world are from South America and Europe is lagging behind in that department. Wenger questions the role of academies in developing strikers and cites that the decline of street football in Europe has resulted in a shortage of top quality strikers.
The boss also noticed that there aren’t many forwards who can properly head the ball, unlike in 1996 when almost every club in England had that proper centre forward.
Wenger is right and if you look at the top, top strikers in the world, excluding Ronaldo they all come from South America. Messi, Suarez, Neymar, Aguero, Rodriguez all are from Latin America.
If you look across Europe and the world of football, then South America is the only continent to develop strikers today. If you look across Europe where are the strikers from? You will see that many of them – at least 80 per cent – come from South America.
So we have to question ourselves: what can we add to our academies to develop strikers again? If you look at the 60s, 70s in England, even when I arrived in 1996, in every club you had strikers and I mean strikers – those who could head the ball. We have less now. In Germany they went to the World Cup with Klose, who is 35.
Maybe in our history street football has gone. In street football when you are 10 years old, you play with 15-year-olds so you have to be shrewd, you have to show that you are good, you have to fight, win impossible balls.
When it is all a bit more formulated then it is developing your individual skill, your fighting attitude less. We have lost a little bit of that in football.
Arsene also hailed the qualities of Alexis Sanchez’s runs and believes he is good enough to play in any position across the front three and reveals that he bought him to play primarily as a centre forward.
Honestly, I like him to play through the middle because he makes good runs. He likes to come to the ball as well because he likes to dribble, so he can play also on the flanks. The quality of his receptions is very good – that means his runs are very good. He’s a good finisher so through the middle. When I bought him he can play centre forward or second striker or on the flanks.
In Alexis Sanchez, we have that ideal top South American striker who hardly gives defenders a rest. If you look at the top strikers apart from Aguero who plays for Manchester City, the rest play for Spain’s top two. We are blessed to have Alexis and whatever you think of Wenger, he deserves appreciation for bringing in a player of Alexis’s ilk to our team.