For a long time Arsenal has been recognized as a goal-scoring team, the one that possesses more quality upfront than in their back-line. Arsenal have enjoyed some good and efficient matches this season – in the Champions’ League the Gunners scored five in two matches before a disappointing home defeat against Schalke in which they only managed a single shot at their opponents’ goal and that one came in the last minute of the match.
Before the previous international break Arsenal scored three goals against West Ham in the Premiership, but after the break they only managed two goals in three matches. Ever since the international break Arsenal suffered from a lack of sharpness and both goals they scored came in the last minutes after rather sterile performances with only a few clear chances made.
It’s no wonder that a number of players capable of doing something in the final third of the pitch are connected with Arsenal. I found rumours regarding two Bosnian players especially interesting since both players could fit into Arsenal and both of them are looking for regular first team football.
Miralem Pjanić is arguably the most talented Bosnian player born in the nineties. Pjanić is only 22 but he already has the experience of playing in two European leagues. He was linked with Arsenal while he was playing for Metz but he signed for Lyon. While playing for “Lions from Gerland” in 2009-10 he scored an equalizer at Santiago Bernabeu against Real Madrid and knocked out the expensive Real Madrid squad. In 2011-12 he signed for Italian side AS Roma although he was again linked with transfer to Arsenal. He had a solid first season at Roma scoring three times in the process but ever since Zdenek Zeman got re-appointed by Roma, Pjanić lost a regular first-team spot.
On the international level things are much brighter for Pjanić. Although he missed the very important clash in Greece (it ended 0:0), his abilities helped Bosnia produce convincing victories over Latvia and Lithuania (4:1 and 3:0). His performance against the latter was especially good. Lithuania gave the Dragons (Bosnian international team) a hard time in the first half an hour but Pjanić, who wasn’t fit for 90 minutes because of an injury that made him miss the match against Greece, turned things around with two brilliant assists before getting himself a goal as well in space of just 12 minutes.
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Since we have problems with teams that have organized defense, Pjanić would be a useful addition. He is also on the wish-list of the Spuds as they see him as someone who might replace Modrić although Pjanić prefers a more direct style of passing. It is interesting that Pjanić could become a transfer target from our city rivals just like he was last season – he was wanted by both Lazio and Roma.
He made (in my opinion) the wrong choice when he joined Roma, who wanted to be the Italian Barcelona out of raw, talented players with Luis Enrique in charge. It is rumoured that Pjanić is also wanted by (of course) Manchester City. It is questionable whether Pjanić can cope with the defensive part of the game in the more demanding Premiership.
On the other side, Edin Džeko already proved his worth in the Premiership. His career is some sort of footballing remake of “The Ugly Duckling”. He was laughed at when he was at Željezničar at the beginning of his career. Czech coach Jiri Plišek noticed his talent while he was managing Željezničar and, when Plišek returned to Czech Republic, Džeko left Željezničar for Teplice for a laughable fee of 50 thousand euros. Teplice earned 80 times that when he was sold to Wolfsburg.
He became a crucial Wolfsburg player, and won both individual and team trophies with the Wolves. Before his transfer to Manchester City, Džeko was linked with move to Arsenal, basically because he is everything Niclas Bendtner should’ve been. He needed six months to adapt to the pace of the Premiership and started scoring goals. Last season he scored four goals against the Spuds at White Hart Lane showing versatility (he scored with both feet and with a header) in the 5:1 thrashing and twice in injury time against FAnchester United at Old Trafford in the 6:1 thrashing. Despite being one of the best scorers in the league in the first half of the last season, he was dropped from the starting eleven in favour of Balotelli.
This season Džeko is mainly used as a golden substitute by Mancini – he scored the winning goal against Fulham with his first touch of the game and two goals against WBA to over-turn the one goal deficit for a 10-men-City, while he was also on the score-sheet against Real Madrid. He wasn’t that efficient when he was given chance in the starting eleven.
Given that he has scored 5 goals in the Premiership so far, one every 74 minutes, and that he doesn’t need many chances to score, he would be an excellent addition to our attacking line. Now, it is questionable whether the transfer in which we would get Džeko with Walcott heading in the opposite direction would be the best one for us. Džeko is an excellent striker, that’s for sure, but I’m also convinced that Giroud is as well. There are differences between those two (Džeko has a much better shoot-technique while Giroud is stronger in the air in both boxes) but I don’t see neither Wenger changing formation to 4-4-2 to put both of them in the starting 11 nor putting one of them on the wing. Swapping Walcott for Džeko would mean we would lose a member of the starting 11 (despite Walcott being used as substitute this season, I see him as a member of the starting 11 since we don’t have a better player on the right wing). Therefore, I would prefer Džeko being signed outright but it is unlikely that we can afford his fee. I doubt Manchester City would sell him cheaply given that they bought him for 27,5 million pounds.
What are your thoughts on the Bosnian duo? Feel free to comment below or in allArsenal’s forum in the transfer rumours thread.