Ever since the departure of Robin van Persie in 2012, we have been desperately searching for the forward who will strike fear in the opposition and carry the burden for us up front.
After moves for Luis Suarez and Gonzalo Higuain failed in 2013 (via the Mirror), we were left waiting with many of the fanbase sure we’d eventually rectify the issue a year later.
However, with little options on the market of the calibre Arsene Wenger wanted, the boss attempted to take a different route. The legendary Frenchman identified a Barcelona superstar frustrated about his contained role in the team and had the potential to score a shedload of goals.
Initially, many felt that Wenger was purchasing the Chilean in order to rectify the lack of pace we had on the wings, however, the boss had other plans.
Days before he made his debut in the Emirates Cup, Wenger dropped the bombshell.
“He is a striker and he’s a good finisher,” Wenger said about Alexis (via Arsenal Player).
Having done similar with the likes of Van Persie and Thierry Henry, was the boss about to convert a prolific winger into a lethal centre forward?
It seemed to be his intentions. Alexis started as the lone striker against Everton at Goodison Park and in the second-leg tie of our Champions League play-off against Besiktas.
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With both these clashes coming in August, Wenger was ostensibly sticking to his guns.
However, for whatever reason, Alexis was very rarely positioned at the tip of our team again despite producing some stellar performances out wide.
Perhaps, Theo Walcott‘s continuous injury problems played a part and Wenger needed the 26-year-old’s pace and guile on the wing?
12 months on and with no centre-forward signed by the club in the close season yet again, Wenger should revisit his original plan. Alexis never looked completely convincing as a player to lead the line, but there was one performance which should encourage the boss that Alexis can do the job.
Against Hull City away last April, the former Barcelona man produced one of his most devastating performances after combining the two qualities that make him special, according to Wenger.
“He can run with the ball, but his runs off the ball are as well very good. When he mixes that well, I wouldn’t like to be a defender,” Wenger told BT Sport ahead of last season’s FA Cup final.
Running off the ball seems like something Alexis is reluctant to do, but he married the two qualities together that evening at the KC Stadium and he was incredibly efficient.
Alexis shares similar qualities to Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and can definitely produce the destructive performances we’ve become accustomed to from the Argentine superstar.
Wenger loves an ‘internal solution’ and this one could potentially win us the Premier League.