Lots of activities are expected at the Emirates this summer. To start with, the future of manager Arsene Wenger has to be resolved, after which the Frenchman will be expected to resolve the issues in the team and beef it up to challenge for major trophies next season.
There are weaknesses in all the departments of the Arsenal team but one area that will come under huge scrutiny is the striking position. Fans and pundits have attributed the Gunners’ faltered title bid to the dearth of quality strikers and expect Wenger to sign top notch strikers that can help realise the ambition of winning the EPL next season.
But is Arsenal really short of strikers in terms of quantity? I don’t think so because the Gunners have Giroud, Sanogo, Joel Campbell, Benik Afobe and Chuba Akpom. That looks like a long list of strikers which means the Gunners are secured in terms of numbers but far from that in terms of quality. Giroud who is the undisputed first choice central striker at the Emirates is far from lethal and has been accused of being very wasteful this season. To this end, new strikers are needed at the Emirates but what happens to the others?
Yaya Sanogo is a talented forward but he is not ready to star for Arsenal. The pressure at the Emirates is simply overwhelming and that seems to have affected his performance. If Wenger wants him to turn out the player he believes he is, he might just have to take him off the line of fire for a while. Sanogo reminds me of a young Lukaku that arrived the Premier League on the back of huge plaudits and a big transfer fee but flopped at Chelsea. It was easy to brand him a flop but a loan move to West Brom proved he had some talent and his exploits at Everton on another loan spell has further confirmed that he is indeed talented.
He might not be ready to deliver at the highest level (Chelsea) but he is a good striker and will thrive where the burden of expectation isn’t so huge. That I believe should be the path Sanogo should tow. Wenger should loan him to a small Premier League team (we should not have problems getting that), there, I believe he will get regular run of first team football and the chance to develop at his pace. His errors won’t be blown out of proportion and his little performance will be hugely appreciated. A season long loan away from the Emirates will go a long way in preparing him for a life at Arsenal.
I will suggest the same for Afobe and Akpom. They are talented youngsters and deserve their Arsenal chance but just not yet. Wenger should look for Premier League clubs to take them on loan. They should not go to the Championship. If they will be playing in the Premier League with Arsenal, they should hone their skills in the same competition. That is the best way to get ready.
As for Campbell, I believe he deserves his Arsenal chance. After two loan spells away from Arsenal, he has proven his mettle especially this season with Olympiakos in the Champions League and deserves a look at. I know Wenger could be tempted to cash in on him but I will advise he doesn’t do that without giving him his Arsenal bow. Campbell can do a good job for Arsenal especially on the wings where we can make do with his pace and dribbling skills. He offers something different to what Walcott gives. The Englishman offers Arsenal lots of blistering pace but where there is no space to run to against bus parking teams, his impact will be nullified. At that time, Campbell’s dribbling skills can come in handy and help unlock some stubborn defences.
With Sanogo, Afobe and Akpom gone, that leaves Arsenal with Giroud and Campbell. This means the Gunners are short on both quantity and quality. To this end, Wenger should approach the summer transfer market with the mindset of signing at least two potent strikers. They don’t have to be big names commanding highfalutin wages, they only have to know where the net is and how to get the ball there. Remy and Drmic would be good candidates.