Arsenal’s striking need
On paper, Arsenal’s striking situation looks quite healthy with the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah and Folarin Balogun all having played and scored this season.
However, the difficulty is that Arsenal have failed to solidify consistent form out of any of their strikers and many are seemingly coming to the end of their time at the club. Lacazette and Nketiah both have just one more season left on their current deals and Balogun’s expires this season.
Although Aubameyang signed a new deal in the summer of 2020, the Gabonese forward has only been able to muster a total 8 goals in the league with 3 coming against Leeds United.
5 realistic options
All these factors combined, it is well within reason that the Gunners may look to recruit a central striker in the upcoming window. Below are 5 options which the Gunners could realistically target:
Patson Daka – Red Bull Salzburg – Zambia – 22 – Transfermarkt value: £18 million
The Red Bull Salzburg machine continues to churn out quality players year-on-year and and has already seen Dominik Szoboszlai move on in January for a significant fee to RB Leipzig.
The next high-profile exit could be in the form of Zambian striker Patson Daka. Taking over the mantle of being the club’s main striker after Erling Haaland departed for Borussia Dortmund, Daka’s goals have meant the side have barely missed the Norwegian.
16 goals in 14 Austrian Bundesliga matches so far is a serious total. A further 5 assists show the Zambian can also create for his colleagues. Daka is a fast yet physical forward who has a composed eye for goal when in dangerous positions.
Concerns over the forward are a lack of true tests so far. The quality throughout Austria is relatively low in comparison to Salzburg however the club’s forays in the Champions League show their competitiveness on the European stage.
Daka’s strike partner Sekou Koita is another one to watch and would have made this list were it not for the 3-month ban he is serving for taking an altitude sickness medication which contained banned substances. A lack of match fitness and sharpness means Daka edges the choice.
Andre Silva – Eintracht Frankfurt – Portugal – 25 – Transfermarkt value: £33.3 million
The Portuguese striker Andre Silva has seemingly found his niche where his talents are being utilised to the best of their ability. Replacing the now returned Luka Jovic, who joined Real Madrid but has since come back on loan, Silva has been one of the Bundesliga’s and Europe’s most prolific scorers this season.
18 goals in 20 Bundesliga matches, including back-to-back braces against Bielefeld and Hertha Berlin, have shown the former Sevilla forward to be a competent addition to a Frankfurt side pillaged after the successes of the aforementioned Jovic in addition to Sebastian Haller who joined West Ham and Ante Rebic who left for AC Milan.
Silva is a completely different type of forward to Aubameyang and would give Arsenal a physical presence in the box. 5 assists this season show he can also set up his teammates, a quality which Mikel Arteta appreciates in a forward. However, Silva is still very much a forward focused on his own goalscoring powers.
Having played in Portugal, Italy, Spain and now Germany, he is a well travelled and much developed forward who has continually progressed regarding his talents and goal output. A move to the Premier League next could encourage him to take that next step once again.
Roman Yaremchuk – KAA Gent – Ukraine – 25 – Transfermarkt value: £9.9 million
Certainly the most niche of the forwards on the list and likely the least well-known to many. Yaremchuk has been silently becoming one of Europe’s most consistent goalscorers in Belgium. Initially, the league in which he plays may turn some away, however his goals in European competition are also worth taking note of.
Standing at 6’3, it is no surprise to learn that the Ukrainian forward is good in the air. Arsenal have been aerially lacklustre with crosses into the box and the 25-year-old would certainly provide an additional threat to the side.
His height however does not hamper his ability on the ball and can work it in fine spaces, taking players on and finding space to create opportunities for himself. He can play the poacher role excellently but his hold up play is of high quality and with the wide players the Gunners have, it could further unlock Yaremchuk’s potential.
He would also be relatively cheap in comparison to some other targets and with two seasons left on his deal, Gent could look to cash in once again for a striker.
Odsonne Edouard – Celtic – France – 23 – Transfermarkt value: £13.5 million
Edouard is a striker which has been linked with a move to Arsenal for some time. The French forward has been one of the Scottish Premiership’s most potent scorers and has been tipped to take the next step in his career for a while now.
This season, Celtic have disappointed and Rangers have taken a mighty lead at the top. Despite his side’s poor form, Edouard has continued to score goals. 19 in 31 matches this season including 4 in European competition.
A powerful forward with hold up ability, strength and good pace combines to allow Edouard to bully defences and muscle his way into goalscoring situations. But his overall intelligence on the ball is also excellent and leads him into creating his own chances when possible. At 23 he has plenty of developing still to do and Arsenal could get a favourable purchase price if they can convince Edouard to join them.
Ivan Toney – Brentford – England – 24 – Transfermarkt value: £10 million
When Brentford lost Ollie Watkins to Aston Villa in the summer, there was concern that they would be unable to again push for a promotion challenge without their star striker. However, the emergence of Ivan toney after his arrival from Peterborough has quickly quelled those fears.
Toney has been in red hot form this season scoring 24 goals in 30 championship games. He has added to this with 9 assists to his name, having slotted into the Brentford style of play seamlessly.
A striker with aerial ability again and quick pace fulfils the profile of forward Arsenal should be looking at. A fair number of penalties have buffed Toney’s tally but nothing can be taken away from the quality the 24-year-old possesses. Brentford are unlikely to allow their star striker to leave for as cheaply as what his value may suggest however, after getting a handsome fee for Watkins just a year prior.
When could Arteta realistically be ‘sacked’ from Arsenal management and does that solve their problems?
This article was edited by Robert Fosterman.
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