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Do Arsenal REALLY Need Another Centre-Forward?

 

With the January transfer window months away, the transfer rumours have already started forming in the sand, particularly in the position of Arsenal Football Club. The Centre-forward, The Target-man, an Out and Out striker, The Number 9. Whatever you want to call him, is something we have been lacking for a while now. A CF is someone who is strong, has great movement, good finishing and holds up the ball up well as teammates advance during a counter-attack. He should have good heading ability and strength as well. The team will look to focus all their play and movement towards him (hence the term target-man).  It should be known that the CF and the second striker are 2 totally different positions; a second striker is more like the attacking playmaker providing the supply to the CF. So now that you know exactly what a CF is. Does Arsene Wenger really need to invest some of Arsenal’s transfer funds on a new Centre Forward? Would a quality CF offer value for money?

Our Playing Style

For starters, we don’t even start games with a proper Centre-forward! West Ham the only exception where Giroud started (and played great I might add scoring 1 goal and assisting another), we normally play with a playing style that does not focus on 1 particular player when on attack, but rather focus on moving the ball around the front third, waiting for space to open up in front of goal to take a shot. OR we counter attack down the flanks or down the middle with either one-twos for down the middle. Or Gervinho/Walcott/Podolski to run down the flanks and either cross the ball in or cut inside and shoot. But what we don’t do anymore is focus all our play on 1 player like last season when we were heavily reliant on Robin Van Persie. And another thing, does anyone remember last season when Walcott used to run down the wing and put in those beautiful crosses through to Robin last season? Why doesn’t Wenger instruct our wingers on doing that anymore? Hopefully Podolski’s cross to Giroud is a sign of a change in tactic…

 

The ‘Theo Walcott’ Conundrum and The Other Strikers We Have Forgotten About

This whole discussion about Theo wanting to play a striker’s role and move in from the wing…. I hate it, Theo has to realise that he is not bigger than the club and that Arsenal will not change tactics specifically for him. We can’t. Barcelona are one of few teams around the world who have changed their tactics for 1 player (the magician that is Lionel Messi). And who wouldn’t? Theo is nowhere near as good as Messi (yet). Podolski scores a hatful of goals on the left. Why can’t Theo do the same? Theo is a wonderful player no doubt about that. The only real criticism I had of him last year was his lack of work ethic and finishing at times. He seemed to work during the off-season. He actually scares centre-backs with his pace and dribbling. That is priceless in my opinion, not many wingers out there that actually SCARE defenders! We shouldn’t sell him. But if we get a good offer (probably from Liverpool) and have a decent replacement in mind (like say Jesus Navas), then by all means Arsene should sell him. Not completely indispensable, but could be in the future.

Park Chu Young. Honestly I have no idea why we signed him, I know he has experience at International level, came in for cheap and might’ve been a great marketing ploy but that should be no reason for managers to sign footballers. We should sell him ASAP after his loan.

Maroune Chamakh. He was a victim of Robin’s bust of form last season. Had a great partnership with Wilshere from what I remember, but it’s been so long since he played I don’t really remember anymore. We play Gervinho and Podolski in the CF position ahead of him so we should sell Chamakh as well. Though either way it will be a win for us (if we sell him) because remember we got him for free!

Niklas Bendtner. I think he is the player most Gooners will have a divided opinion on. I think we should have never loaned him out to Juventus and depending on how he develops Juventus. But his huge ego is a big killer. He needs a firm talking to from someone out there and who knows maybe one day he could be a world beater? Potential and ego.

Andrei Arsharvin. A victim of competition, a real enigma of our team. On his day can be a world beater (see vs Liverpool, vs Barcelona) but on other days can be as useful as the first R in February. I think we should keep him. His experience can still be vital. I know he’s not really a striker but whether he is sold or kept after the January transfer window I think will be a factor.  Lastly, how could you possibly hate him after the cheeky faces he pulls in training photos?

Potential CF Replacements/ Improvements

Since the rumour that there was a 35 million pound transfer kitty available to Wenger, an abundance of strikers have been rumoured to sign for us in January.

Here is a comprehensive list so far:

  • Falcao
  • Llorente
  • Dzeko
  • Lewandowski
  • Sturridge
  • Aumbeyang
  • Huntelaar
  • Damiao
  • Henry (sentimental reasons)

You can cross Falcao off the list…

Llorente, has his contract running out. A very good CF, experienced. But may cost us +10m and at his age may not attract Wenger as a target. Dzeko, My favourite player of the bunch (excluding Henry), he is absolute class and proven in the EPL (scored like 20 goals early last season before Aguero and Balotelli took over), can come off the bench and score (unlike Giroud), and can finish essentially every chance he gets and because he is now 3rd string in the Manchester City side we should be able to get him decent transfer fee of around 10-15m. 2 issues that arise with him though will be wage demands and whether City are willing to sell him or not. I think both are unlikely to be met but I am hopeful. The rest in my opinions are all pretty similar and are unlikely to join us. Either than Henry who will probably join again on loan if asked by Wenger in January, knowing the legend that he is…

So all in all, do we really need a striker? Well, it depends; we have 4 strikers at the club; Giroud, Chamakh, Park, and Bendtner. Park and Bendtner are off on loan at other clubs and will probably leave permanently at the end of the season. Keep in mind Gervinho, Podolski and Walcott can all play striker as well. Arsharvin, Djourou, Squillaci and the rest of the deadwood all taking up wages whilst not playing many games…

Knowing what Wenger is good at (which is doing the unpredictable), I wouldn’t be surprised if he surprises us all and bought someone like Falcao or Llorente. Did anyone expect him to buy Cazorla when he did? I certainly didn’t but if I had to try to predict at what might happen in January is that it all depends on the Walcott contract situation, whether the other forwards stay or go and if Giroud starts scoring regularly. Gervinho and Chamakh will also go to the Africa Cup of Nations when that starts. So far we have: Podolski with 4 goals + 3 assists, Gervinho with 5 goals and 2 Assists, Walcott with 4 goals and 2 assists, Giroud with 2 goals and 4 assists Cazorla and Cazorla with 2 goals and 3 assists and with 2.4 goals scored per game so far this season, a higher rate than in any previous season under Wenger, should we really be worried? Many of the other top sides though do have 2-3 world-class or quality strikers at their disposal so I really am not sure, maybe it is a good idea just to add to our squad depth…

Whatever Wenger decides in January I’m sure it will be the right choice.

COYG

Chris Gouw.

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