6 Strikers Arsenal Should Target In January
6 Strikers Arsenal Should Target In January
It’s safe to say Arsenal’s options at striker are lacking in depth. Outside of Olivier Giroud, the Gunners have the unreliable Nicklas Bendtner and Park Chu-Young, and the young, unproven duo of Chuba Akpom and Yaya Sanogo.
Goals haven’t been much of an issue for Arsenal this season, having scored 41 goals in all competitions and only being held goalless twice. But the question remains, if Giroud were to get injured or need a game off for rest, what would the Gunners do to properly replace him?
Over the summer, we saw the likes of Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney, Stevan Jovetic, Gonzalo Higuain and a few others linked to North London, but none of the moves seemed to materialize. It was rumored that when the summer window ended, Arsenal would make a move for a striker in January to help the club end its trophy drought. What the Gunners need, though, is a striker to complement Giroud, rather than one to replace him.
Another thing Arsenal has to think about when purchasing a striker in the winter window is whether or not the focus for the club is the Barclays Premier League or the UEFA Champions League. If it’s the Premier League, the options are limitless. If it’s the Champions League though, a world-class striker not already cup tied will be somewhat difficult to find for a reasonable price.
Assuming the money for another top player is available for Arsene Wenger, let’s take a look at six realistic options the Gunners could move for in January.
6. Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez
The Little Pea broke onto the scene in his Manchester United debut season scoring 20 goals in 45 matches following his transfer from Guadalajara. His hasn’t really reached the same form since then, albeit scoring 18 goals last season; he’s never looked the same.
Arsenal is rumored to be interested in bringing the young Mexican to the club in January since it appears he’s fallen down the pecking order behind Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck. While he may be a worthy addition and definitely an alternative player in terms of style with Giroud, whether or not he’s the man to help end the Gunners’ trophy drought remains to be seen.
5. Jackson Martinez
F.C. Porto’s Columbian ace has been scoring goal after goal since his transfer to the Portuguese club in 2012. Having scored 44 goals in 58 matches, Martinez’ name has been thrown around to many teams as a potential January target. The tall, pacey striker would be a perfect alternative to Giroud and would allow the Gunners to have the same sort of unpredictable impact Theo Walcott has, only with the reliability of scoring goals.
What may hinder the deal from going through is Porto’s desire to sell Martinez for no less than €40 million, and it appears Chelsea is the frontrunner to secure his signature. However, it is believed Arsenal may be willing to shell out the money for the Columbian, especially since a larger bid for Suarez was submitted to Liverpool last summer.
4. Diego Costa
The Atletico Madrid star has been in blistering form this season as a follow up to his stellar 2012-13 campaign. After bagging 20 goals in 44 appearances, helping his club lift the Copa del Ray and claiming the golden boot in the process, Costa is already looking to replicate or best his previous season.
The Spanish-Brazilian striker has 18 goals in 19 appearances this season and is one of the hottest commodities in soccer right now. Wenger has expressed his admiration of Costa, although a move in January would be quite shocking. It’s rumored that he has a $33 million release clause that activates in summer 2014, so if a move is on the cards, a move in June or July would be more likely. However, with a release clause so small for such a big player, if Wenger wants Costa in North London, a move in January may be the only way.
3. Robert Lewandowski
A bit of a long shot considering the reports in the summer about his “already agreed” move to Bayern Munich at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, new reports have come forth that Lewandowski may be rethinking his move to the Bavarian giants. The Polish striker has expressed his admiration for the Premier League before and reiterated it recently, giving clubs like Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea hope of securing his signature.
It’s rumored that Borussia Dortmund are willing to part with their star for as little as $11.5 million to anyone but Bayern Munich, in order to avoid having to play against him and strengthening its already star-filled rival. It would be quite a coup if Arsenal could pull off a deal, and the prospect of playing with his Polish teammates, Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski, could persuade Lewandowski. However, the appeal of playing for Real Madrid or another giant may ultimately keep him out of North London.
2. Luis Suarez
Now for the man Arsenal went after for the majority of the summer, Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan served his suspension and has already scored nine goals and added an assist in only seven games. He’s quickly showing why he is one of the best strikers in the world, and why the Gunners went after him in the first place. While there are the character issues and baggage he carries with him from team to team, one thing is for sure, Suarez is one of the best strikers in the world.
A revived bid for the Liverpool striker in January seems unlikely after Arsenal already had bids rejected for him in July, but Wenger hasn’t ruled out returning for his number one target. It’s believed a bid of around $74 million would be a good place to start when dealing with a transfer, which may end up being more than Le Prof is willing to spend.
1. Karim Benzema
Finally, the man most linked to the Gunners since the transfer window closed in August. Carlo Ancelotti is slowly freezing out Benzema at Real Madrid due to his somewhat poor form this season, and it’s not a matter of if, but when the Frenchman leaves the Santiago Bernabeau. After a 20 goal and 20 assists 2012-13 campaign, Benzema has started this season with 10 goals and seven assists in 18 appearances.
It’s apparent he still has what it takes to be a world-class striker, and it’s thought that a bid in the region of $44 million will be enough to convince Los Blancos to sell their striker. The opportunity for Wenger to add a Frenchman to his squad is always appealing, but to have both French national team strikers in his squad at once may be convincing enough for him to push the transfer through.