After the debacle of the non-signing of Radamel Falcao to Arsenal, it seems certain that we will start the new season without a top class striker in our squad.
Arsenal fans were excited about the new era, with Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez as our big money signings over the last 12 months, but with Olivier Giroud out until at least the New Year, things look pretty bleak.
Before Özil arrived last summer, every Arsenal fan was begging for a top striker to arrive at The Emirates. We were linked with Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Suarez, Stevan Jovetic, Loic Remy and a load of other strikers, as the media believed that was what Arsenal needed to add to their squad. The Arsenal manager of course, had other ideas and signed an attacking midfielder instead – typical Arsene.
We signed Alexis Sanchez this summer and while he is usually a wide attacker, like Thierry Henry, he wants to see the Chilean as a central striker. With Olivier Giroud in the side, Arsene’s initial plan was to ease Sanchez into the central role but now the target man is out injured, he is going to have to rush his development in that position.
That’s a lot to ask and we are going to struggle with that. Against Manchester City and Besiktas in the first leg, when Sanchez played wide on the right, he put in excellent performances. But in recent games, against Everton and Besiktas when he played centrally, he struggled. He scored a massive goal against Besiktas putting us through to the Champions League proper, but couldn’t impose himself on the game.
So that’s where we are. Despite Arsene claiming that Yaya Sanogo, Lukas Podolski, Joel Campbell, Theo Walcott (when he returns) and Alexis Sanchez can file the central role, every Arsenal fan knows he’s clutching at straws. Yaya Sanogo is the only player after Giroud who can play the main striker role, but he’s raw and yet to score a goal for Arsenal in a competitive game. Podolski, Theo, Campbell and Sanchez are all wide players with pace and not really suited to holding the ball up and bringing others into play.
Giroud was excellent at bringing players into the game, such as Ramsey, Özil, Cazorla, Wilshere and Rosicky (remember some of the amazing team goals we scored last season? Giroud was heavily involved in most of them) and make no mistake, his absence will be greatly missed – even more so if we don’t bring in a decent replacement, which looks less and less likely as time ticks on.