Although Arsenal are currently perched prettily at the summit of the Premier League table, it is widely agreed that they must reinforce their striking options in the January transfer window, if they are to go the distance this term.
Olivier Giroud has enjoyed a fine start to the season, notching 8 goals and 5 assists in 18 appearances for the Gunners, and establishing himself as first choice striker for France, ahead of Karim Benzema, in Les Blues’ preferred 4-5-1 formation.
However, the burden of being Arsenal’s only central striker will bear too heavily on the Frenchman over the course of a full season, and the ineffective – to put it lightly – Nicklas Bendtner is the only alternative option at present.
Arsène Wenger must sign a quality forward in the coming transfer window, not just to allow some room for rotation, therefore keeping Giroud fresh, but to offer a different style of play, compensating for the inevitable off days Giroud will have.
Who this man should be is the cause for much debate amongst Arsenal fans, with common names in the hat being: Christian Benteke, Diego Costa, Edin Džeko, Karim Benzema, Robert Lewandowski and Javier Hernández.
While these names may sound enticing to Gooners for various reasons, the reality is that players of that calibre may be difficult to prise away from their respective clubs during the middle of a season, and most would be cup-tied for the Champions League. Bearing that in mind, we’ve indentified three dark horses who could significantly improve the Gunners’ front line for those crucial few months after January, and beyond:
VfB Stuttgart’s towering Bosnian number 9 is in the form of his life at present; coming off the back of a 31-goal season for club and country, he has managed to continue that form into this campaign, with 18 goals in 25 appearances thus far.
At 29 years old, he may wish for a new challenge, and the transition from the Bundesliga to the Premier League could tempt the national hero for the latter years of his career. The powerful forward could make an impact at Arsenal with his great aerial ability, movement and finishing.
Iceland international Finnbogason has set the Eredivisie alight over the last season and a half, scoring an astonishing 24 goals in 23 league starts for Heerenveen in the 2012/13 campaign, not to mention the 12 goals he scored while on loan to Helsingborg in the same season.
Another 14 league goals in 11 starts this year has underlined the fact that this was no fluke season and, according to reports in Italy, the 24 year old has now attracted serious interest from Roma, along with the few Premiership clubs that are vying for his signature. Finnbogason is thought to be available for the right price, and his fox-in-the-box style of play could offer Arsenal an alternative dimension to Giroud.
Internacional forward and Brazil international Damiao has been on the radar of a number of significant European clubs over the last couple of years, not least Tottenham Hotspur. The Gunners signing the dynamic 24 year old could break Spurs fans’ hearts, especially if he helped fire them to the title this year.
He averaged a goal every other game last season, and coupled with the 35 he scored the season before, there is enough to suggest that his recent dip in form will not be a lasting problem. He has time on his side, at the age of 24, and his excellent attributes such as his finishing, strength and positioning, could prove extremely valuable to Wenger’s side.