Sunday, 26 August 2012

5 Attacking Targets for Arsenal

Arsenal's summer striking signings have not made the best start to their careers, after firing blanks in the opening two fixtures of the Premier League. Robin Van Persie was always going to be a hard act to follow, and the pressure was clearly on the shoulders of Giroud and Podolski, which has left Wenger still in the market for "top top quality" signings. Here are 5 possible targets that Arsene could go for should he wish to strengthen that area of the field.

Fernando Llorente - Llorente has been linked with elite clubs all over Europe this transfer window after yet another stellar season in Spain with Athletic Bilbao. The 6ft 5in Striker particularly impressed during the Basque sides Europa League run, when he excelled, scoring 7 goals on the way to the final.

Despite his height, he is not an archetypal "big striker", and as is expected of any Spanish international these days he is extremely capable of playing beautiful, free-flowing football on the ground and making runs through the lines of defences. Yet also given his height he can be deployed as a plan B by Spain when things are not going so well, this was the case when he came on for the last half an hour in the world cup quarter final against Portugal in 2010. Llorente has an impressive record internationally, and has represented Spain on 21 occasions, scoring 7 times.

Last season was easily Llorente's best for Bilbao, and his 29 goals in all competitions have seen him go down as a "Bilbao legend". Those 29 goals included 17 in the league, one less than his tally the season before - although he played 4 less games. Llorente is widely regarded as one of the best players outside of the top two in Spain, and in August he fuelled speculation around a possible exit by refusing to negotiate a new contract.

The 27 year old has already struck up a partnership with Cazorla at international level, which would help him settle at the club, and has been deployed in a similar position to that he would take up at Arsenal by Bilbao for many seasons. His price tag is a possible stumbling block though, with estimated valuations of 30 million euros, not to mention a bumper contract. Also Juventus are said to be in pole position to sign the Spaniard. Yet he does represent the "top, top quality" that Wenger has mentioned, and could be allowed to leave his club before the transfer window expires, also his agent has previously stated that a move to England is “very, very possible”.

Robert Lewandowski - Lewandowski enjoyed an amazing season at Dortmund as he helped the club to a league and cup double, the most notable contribution being a hattrick against Bayern in the cup final. The polish striker finally earned a starting position in his second season, having earned a move from Lech Poznan for £3million and ended up with 30 goals in 46 matches, with 22 goals in the league.

Lewandowski went on to represent his national side on home soil in the European Championships, yet after a great start which saw him score in the first half of the opening game against Greece, Lewandowski failed to shine in a side which could not supply him bullets to fire and Poland were knocked out of the group.

The 6ft striker is deceptively quick and had great movement which gets him in areas which he can exploit his pin point finishing. He also has an eye for a pass as illustrated by his 6 assists in the Bundesliga last season. Lewandowki still remains to be tested on the highest level with only sparse experience of the Champions league so far. Also having only joined Dortmund from the Polish league 2 season ago there would be question marks as to whether he could succeed in the Premier League. 

Yet anyone who saw Dortmund play last season would quickly dismiss these questions and would argue that Lewandowski is one of the brightest players in Europe at the moment and will probably see his stock rise this season. Although he was linked with a move away from Dortmund earlier this summer, the likelihood of them selling another of their star players straight after the season has started is highly unlikely unless the cash on offer is ludicrous. Lewandowski is still young at 24 years old, and is happy to continue his journey at Dortmund - who will aim to do better in Europe this season.

Stevan Jovetic - Jovetic is one of the most improved players in Serie A in recent years, after becoming an out and out striker for Fiorentina he has been one of the only shining lights for the club in recent years and has drawn comparisons in style to none other than Roberto Baggio.

The Montenegrin international has flawless technique and a lethal left foot, which is similar to Robin Van Persie. At 6ft he would be able to handle the physical side of the Premier League too and has a good scoring record, netting 14 last season as a poor Fiorentina side limped to a 13th place finish.

Jovetic's upturn in form has attracted interest from European elite such as Man City and Italian Champions Juventus, and apparently the Fiorentina asking price is around £20 million, which for a 22 year old with bags of potential is not too big an amount in today's market. With Bendtner rumoured to be heading in the opposite direction and possible deal could be made between the clubs too.

However in recent days the Fiorentina president has become confident that he will hold onto his man now the new season has started, saying "Jovetic will definitely stay here,I told him that in nine months we sit down and see what to do with his future."

Still, money talks in today's game, and Arsenal are a side with money to spend at the moment, and they would not be going wrong in spending it on Jovetic.

Leandro Damiao - Damiao has been heavily predicted as the man to wear the number 9 shirt for his national side when the world cup arrives in 2014 for many years now, yet the pressure and expectation have not hindered the development of the 23 year old so far and he is one of South America's star prospects right now.

Damiao, at 6ft 1in, is a classic number 9 and is described by his national boss as "strong, intense, and fast." His physicality would certainly endear him to the Premier League and he could be set to follow his former teammate and compatriot Oscar to Europe to develop his game before the World cup comes along. Damiao is very talented in the air, with a strong leap on him, but is perhaps most strong in and around the box, where his pinpoint, powerful finishing make him deadly.

Damiao has scored over 70 goals for Internacional in the last 3 years and last season managed 38 goals in 58 games, whilst this season he already has 20 goals in 30 games. The striker also impressed in the Olympics this summer where he kept a certain Alexandre Pato out of the side and scored 6 goals, helping Brazil to the final and a Silver medal.

The 10 times capped striker is said to be keen on a move to Europe in the near future, and is attracted to the challenge of the Premier League. However his buy out clause of 47 million pounds may put buyers off, although he is said to be available for around £24million. He would be a great buy but a risky one too, especially given the inability to settle in England for most Brazilians, and the high price tag he would command.

Edinson Cavani - The man nicknamed the bull is probably one of the hottest talents in the world right now. Cavani has had another great season last term with 33 goals in 47 matches, including 23 in the league.

The Uruguayan went on to have a disappointing Olympics where he looked rather disinterested and lacked great supply from teammates, something he may have to get used to after Napoli sold his strike partner Lavezzi to PSG.

Cavani would command an amazing transfer fee would he leave, although he would represent a truly world class addition to the club and a great replacement for Van Persie. His pace, power and creativity would thrive in the Premier league and he has already shown his quality in the Champions League and World Cup previously.

Also the 6ft 2in striker is said to be uncertain over his future following Lavezzi's exit, and an argument he had with the club over allowing him to go to the Olympics. However, the forward is expected to have at least one more season at Napoli, where he has scored 66 goals in 94 games. At 25 he certainly can wait a year or so before his next move, but having tasted Champions League football last season, he may want to join a side that can offer him another chance to challenge himself among the best in the world.


  1. Pointless article... Every single one of those players would cost arsenal £20m plus; I think we all know the board don't want to be spending this amount of money on one player. You should have called it '5 really good strikers that everyone wants to buy but only Citeh and Chelsea can afford them.'

    1. Very good point, I feel I tried to make an article for strikers that could properly replace Van Persie and possibly take us to the next level in terms of transfers - considering we still haven't spent more than £15million on any single player.

      I feel a better piece of mine was this on whether we need to strengthen in the attacking area

      Anyway, its all rather pointless now considering the transfer window has shut. But thanks for the tips.

  2. None of the players mentioned fit within Wenger's financial model except for Lewandowski. Why not gamble a bit and source a UK born player with some heart. Grant Holt or Ricky Lambert can't be any worse than Arshavin or Chamakh.

    1. I agree with the first half of your answer, but the second part regarding possibly signing Lambert or Holt is not very inviting. There have to be some players inbetween the overrated, overpriced British players and the £20 million + players in my article above.

      Look at the signing of Demba Cisse, an outstanding striker in a technical sense as well as his great movement and clinical finishing. All of that was for only £10 million, and I remember when Cisse was linked with us before his move to Newcastle.

      There has to be more players of that calibre out there.