The Gunners have done it, they have finally signed a marquee, world class talent this summer in Mesut Özil on Transfer Deadline Day.
Gooners all around the globe were glued to their TV screens, monitors or ears pricked listening to the radio waiting for those words – Özil is a Gunner.
Many did not believe the earlier rumours, including ourselves, and many have felt an attacking midfielder is not what we need especially with just one fit, recognized striker on our books – Olivier Giroud.
The likes of Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney and Gonzalo Higuain have been flirted with Arsenal this summer to reinforce Wenger’s striking options, but just the young, inexperienced Yaya Sanogo arrived on a free transfer from Ligue 2 outfit Auxerre.
Marouane Chamakh was sold to Crystal Palace where he has integrated well, while other Arsenal strikers Park Chu Young and Nicklas Bendtner were unable leave even on loan and are named in the first team squad this season. Park is incredibly unlikely to play but Bendtner, who is currently injured, will have an Arsenal future after his latest statement meaning he could play backup to Giroud while Podolski recovers from his injury.
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Yaya Sanogo has been utilized a couple of times in recent matches but seems a player that requires plenty of developing and is not quite ready for first team action just yet, especially on the Premier League stage.
We have decided to explore three different scenarios that Arsenal could use should Giroud succumb to injury or require a rest:
Scenario 1: Theo Walcott to lead the line
Walcott got his first real taster last season as a centre forward and did well. Giroud lost his form and in stepped the Englishman, quite emphatically at times. He scored an impressive hat trick against Newcastle and it seemed he was destined to finally make the transition to playing in his favoured central striker role.
But there were still important aspects of his game missing such as his hold up play left a lot to be admired, however he has the ability to find space and make the right runs.
With the signing of Özil we can expect a lot more Fabregas-esk through balls to Theo, and if he plays up front he could be devastating.
The main reservation about playing the England international through the middle is the lack of quality that can replace him on the wing. Walcott is brilliant out wide as he cuts in and provides a lot of assists, and there is no one quite at his level to cover for him.
The most likely candidate to slot in on the right would be Rosicky or Gnabry. Although the Czech is a far more established player than the young German, structure-wise Arsenal lack width if Rosicky played out wide as he naturally cuts in a lot similarly to Cazorla. He has played on the wing before but, like Ramsey is far better through the middle.
Scenario 2: Ozil or Cazorla utilized as a ‘false’ 9
The Spanish national team and Barcelona are perfect examples of fielding an attacking midfielder in an even more advanced role.
Cesc Fabregas has done it numerous times for club and country over the last couple years, while Andrei Arshavin even played as a centre forward to relatively good effect for the Gunners a number of seasons back after another injury crisis.
This option may well be top of the list with the Gunners full of midfield options. Rosicky, Wilshere, Cazorla, and Özil can all play in the advanced role, however it will be the latter two that would be the most likely of candidates.
Arsene Wenger may already be thinking of this as a viable option.
Scenario 3: Recalling Saint Nick
Nicklas Bendtner was not allowed to leave this summer despite the Gunners initially looking to offload him earlier in the window. The Danish international was blessed with plenty of talent and seemed destined for big things however his arrogance has got in the way and his stupidity off the field. He has one final chance to turn his Arsenal career around simply because the Gunners failed to bring in any forward targets.
One problem remains however, he is injured and is not due back for awhile. He has no set return date as of yet, but he recently underwent surgery and will not be available for selection for some time.
But like it or not, Bendtner will most likely be Arsenal’s second choice striker until Podolski returns. He is a far more established player than Sanogo and if he can put his injury woes behind him he could prove useful.
Or.. option number four: try Thomas Vermaelen up front, he’s got a hell of strike and will struggle to play at the back for awhile.. 😉
What are your thoughts Gooners? Comment below..