Simply put, Arsenal might be a world class striker away from Premier League glory. Arsène Wenger’s side are incredibly strong yet lack that lethal finisher who could guarantee their first title since 2004. The Gunners have been linked with a summer move for Karim Benzema but latest reports suggest that Wenger is concerned about overspending on the Real Madrid star.
That is ridiculous. Benzema is one of the deadliest forwards in world football and is more than worth his weight in gold. The France international has been an integral part of Real’s attack since he arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu back in 2009. Benzema’s ability to create opportunities out of nothing is one of his greatest attributes and Arsenal would do well to find a better finisher inside the 18-yard box.
The limitations on Arsenals current forward line are clear to see, while no one can doubt Giroud is a decent player he is not in the same league as other Premier League forwards. Looking at this year’s top scorer market on Coral bookmakers Giroud is 20/1 with 6 other forwards ahead of him, for a team challenging for the league that is not good enough.
Arsenal must bite the bullet and pay up. Whether he costs £35 million or £55 million, Benzema guarantees goals and will be well suited to Arsenal’s fast, attacking style of play. The 27-year-old has his best years ahead of him and would link up well with the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in attack.
Arsenal supporters are praying that the club strongly consider a bid for the striker and aren’t put off by his high wage demands and club record transfer fee. The Gunners could consider a move for another forward and have been linked with a number of other quality players.
The rest of the squad is exceptionally strong. The Gunners moved quickly to sign Petr Cech from rivals Chelsea earlier this summer and, although the four-time Premier League winner was at fault for both of West Ham’s goals in their opening match of the campaign, he remains one of the best goalkeepers in England’s top flight. At 33 years old, Cech is getting on but he’s still got plenty to give throughout the duration of his contract at Arsenal.
The Gunners are stacked in midfield and defensive areas. They have two competent wing-backs on both flanks, while the likes of Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere are more than capable of sweeping up in front of the back four. In attacking midfield, Özil, Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott provide width, pace and creativity.
Although the opening day defeat was a disappointment, Arsenal supporters will remain positive of their chances this season. However, the Gunners must invest in a top striker to stand a real chance of success. While it would be foolish to claim that Benzema will guarantee Premier League glory, his arrival certainly wouldn’t hinder their title ambitions.
The France international would link up well with Arsenal’s attacking midfielders and would definitely be an upgrade from Olivier Giroud. With less than three weeks until the transfer window slams shut, Wenger should act quickly to ensure the Gunners aren’t forced into panic buying at the end of August.
10 thoughts on “Are Arsenal a world class striker away from Premier League glory?”
Its not as simple as it seems.
Arsenal needs a world class striker but what exactly? Arsenal actually creates a lot of chances already, so we dont need someone to “create something from nothing” – we need someone to complete the moves we are already making! Last year, even while supposedly desperate lacking a “world class #9”, we scored almost as many goals as the champions and as Man City.
Therefore the need for Arsenal now is first and foremost about conversion efficiency, not necessarily “30 goals” which Benzema has never reached, has he?
Also in the Arsenal game, the forward’s role as much about assists as it is about goals. The best – think Henry, Van Persie – we not pure scorers. They assisted at very high rates. This was part of their success – it made them harder to defend against. And therefore that skill is better for the team, even for our #9.
Benzema does that (assisting) well. But arguably a player like Lewandowski could deliver that too and maybe cost less…if Arsenal can pry him loose.
Plus the price is punishing for a 27 year old. Two years younger like the age when Sanches was bought, would be less debatable. In the forward position, speed matters. Benzema has some but not a burner and will slow down by 28 or 29 ish. At 27 now and probably a 5 year contract the problem is Arsenal would basically have to let him go towards the end of the contract and eat an accounting loss.
You know if we had the midfield depth sorted out (ie Arteta and Flamini shipped out and a big unit liek Carvalho in), I’d think this was money better spent. Now you have a player who can rest Couquelin from time to time, or in the big games, partner him to shut down the opponents in the middle.
Why that priority? Because I think Walcott is the efficient finisher we need and is already on the books. He is also a constant threat to make dangerous passes – look at his assist record the past few years its very efficient.
But…Walcott is of best use to use at 0-0 or with a lead. If we gift opponent leads cheaply and its 0-1 and teams can sit back.So to get the best out of Walcott, we need it tighter at the back.
Its easy to talk about star strikers, but really Arsenal just needs to stop gifting away leads and convert chances more efficiently. The real need is not necessarily about “star quality”.
Nice to see one of my favourite blogs still going strong.
Arsenal are light years away from winning the PL or the CL simply because Arsene Wenger has no hunger, desire, or even the tactical intelligence. He doesn’t even have to try.
He has never replaced either Vieira or Petit properly, in the summer of 2006 when all the champagne was flowing over the move to The Emirates, we lost Dennis Bergkamp and Robert Pires, neither of whom have been replaced adequately. Tomas Rosicky was much heralded after sparkling for Dortmund, and of course Abou Diaby was the ‘new Vieira’. The reality is they contributed about as much as each other and are as much a symptom of our decline as Wenger. The fact that Diaby has only been released this summer and Rosicky is still there tells you everything about Wenger. His response after the 8-2 humiliation at Old Trafford was to spend £10m on Mikel Arteta, a player of exceptionally limited ability never picked for his country.
Wenger is trying to do the equivalent of winning an F1 Grand Prix in a Skoda.
Lord Harris says we have £200m sitting in the bank, and Wenger can’t find a better option than Arteta as cover for Coquelin, who may or may not be our new defensive midfield shield. And just like he couldn’t find a goalkeeper anywhere in the world better than Almunia for four years, he now can’t find anyone better than Giroud. Er…Edin Dzeko? Carlos Bacca?
The manager should have the intelligence and self-awareness to know that he isn’t meeting the fans expectations, and the club, over which he has total control, aren’t fulfilling the promises they made over the reasons for moving to The Emirates. The move thus far has been a major disappointment, and frankly shows no sign of improvement any time soon.
Some Arsenal fans will argue that two successive FA Cups shows Wenger is adapting. He really isn’t. He still takes us into a season woefully short after nineteen years.
The first of the two recent FA Cups was handed to Arsenal, who still tried not to win it. The Fifth Round was a week after the 5-1 hammering we took from Liverpool against the same side, but this time Arsenal were at home and seeking redemption. They got over the line with a 2-1 win, but Liverpool were denied a blatant penalty. With Wigan continuing their new-found hex sign over Man City, suddenly Arsenal were the biggest club left in the competition, and couldn’t do anything but win it, although you’d be forgiven for thinking we didn’t want it that badly after the performance against Wigan at Wembley. And again this year, apart from being drawn away at Old Trafford (against a very poor mis-firing Utd), the way opened up where it became impossible for us not to win it. Having said that, the performance against Villa in the final was most enjoyable.
The consequences of winning those FA Cups means we are stuck with an egotistical manager going nowhere. Arsenal are insignificant as a football force both here and on the continent. The only reason people refer to Arsenal as ‘title contenders’ is because that’s exactly what a club of Arsenal’s stature should be. But we have sycophantic football journalists who never ask difficult questions.
No other manager at any top club would be allowed to just surrender the title as Wenger did in January 2014. Mark Pougatch just couldn’t comprehend it two weeks after the TW had closed and we’d played out a tepid 0-0 draw with Moyes’ Utd at The Emirates. At that time it was widely reported that Arsenal had £150m sitting in the bank, and Wenger brought in a 31 year old Swede who was out for three months on loan. Pougatch asked Martin Keown why Arsene Wenger felt the need to constantly handicap himself by leaving Arsenal short. The same frugality which has seen Sol Campbell come out of semi-retirement for four months, and Jens Lehmann out of full retirement due to one of many Wenger’s blind-spots.
He is a gambler who wins more by luck than design.
Arsenal are the fifth richest football club in the world, and they are led by a cowardly manager who refuses to even try and compete. Do you think Arsenal would have built The Emirates if they couldn’t afford it? It is a cash-cow that has already more than paid for itself because the new breed of fans attending The Emirates have accepted Fouth place is good enough. We should be frightening the life out of other clubs, The Emirates should be like a bear-pit where the opposition fear coming to, a fortress of blood sweat and tears, where if by some strange quirk the opposition do get a result, we have made them earn it and they are well aware that every time they visit they will get the fight of their lives. We are so soft it’s ridiculous.
Unfair most of this is.
The purchases of Ozil Sanchez and Carla plus Gabriel on the bench clearly mark a shift in Wenger’s approach.
One can understand the hesitancy on a striker: if Alexis Walcott and Giroud were fit for full season then Arsenal are probably champions last year.
As for Dzeko, come on get real: Man City ALWAYS send their players into exile abroad if they are still of any use at top level. No way in hell he would be for sale on these shores.
I think also Arsenal are hedging a bit to see if Welbeck will be fit so are waiting as long as possible in the transfer window. But they can’t exactly say that as it would be like hanging out a sign saying “fleece me” if they actually end up needing to buy.
At DM first you guys whinged that there was no DM. Now there is one, so you whinge there is no backup DM on 100k per week. Seriously?
You gloss over the fact that these days we have a bench so strong that it features to full back that would probably be starters if they were at Spurs or even Man Its! Plus the Ox and Walcott. Chambers who was a starter this time last year is in the stands! Our cup squad is no longer pure teenagers but these plus the likes of Rosicky Flamini Wilshere Ospina. Yet you see crisis? Are you kidding me?
This team has already won two FA Cups in a row and is very close to putting it all together for a title: show faith, not bile.
Most of my comment is unfair. Really?
At the end of January 2014, Arsenal were top of the PL. With £150m sitting in the bank, you’d think he’d strengthen our position at the top and get us over the line. The consequences of him not doing this was that Arsenal were the only top six club not to score against, or beat Moyes’ United. He then went on to get smashed 5-1 at Anfield, and in his much publicised 1,000th game in charge, 6-0 at Chelsea. Oh yes, and a 3-0 mauling at Everton. Effectively, Wenger surrendered the PL title, and you call me unfair. Wenger is on £8m a year. The man is a charlatan who has no shame.
Ozil and Sanchez you say has changed Wenger’s approach. If only that were true. Debuchy, Gibbs, Mertersacker, Arteta, Flamini, Rosicky, Walcott, Welbeck and Giroud should be nowhere near a club of Arsenal’s stature. And before you defend any of those players, ask yourself if Chelsea, City or United would want them, or Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or even Dortmund would entertain any of them.
Ozil literally dropped into Wenger’s lap, because if you remember, Real Madrid up-graded on a player Wenger completely overlooked when he visited Southampton and was all goggle-eyed over Walcott. Gareth Bale. Ozil was another of Wenger’s reactionary transfers after the opening-day 3-1 home defeat against Villa. Real Madrid went on to win the CL that very season. Arsenal limped by default to an FA Cup, which has proved to be a disaster, because it earned Wenger a contract he should have walked away from.
If I was Ozil, I’d be speaking to my Agent and looking for an escape because he hasn’t been anywhere near value for money, and Wenger can’t utilise his talent properly because apart from Alexis Sanchez he is surrounded by inferior players. And before you mention Cazorla, think about if he has ever stepped up in a big game against a big club. That’ll be a no.
Alexis Sanchez dropped in Wenger’s lap too, because one of our so-called rivals (CL) were up-grading on a player who made Wenger and Arsenal look foolish. A player Liverpool bought for £22m – and Wenger is always complaining there’s no affordable quality out there – Luis Suarez. He was bought to replace Sanchez, and we got him because he didn’t want to live in Liverpool.
Arsenal, like football generally has become sanitised to the point where the passion is being drained by club owner’s greed. Just as in politics where the elected government are meant to serve the public, so Football Clubs were created to serve and entertain the public. Sadly we exist in a paradigm where the complete opposite is true. And that’s the real problem.
The fans have no voice and no representative at Board level.
I don’t think I called it a ‘crisis’. All is calm in the Arsenal garden because there are many Arsenal fans caught in this perpetual loop where Wenger always promises jam tomorrow, so everyone’s happy.
The fifth richest football club in the world still has never won the European Cup/CL, have been outside of the top two for 10 years, and are still seven titles behind United, five behind Liverpool with no urgency to address that gulf.
Face the truth mate, Wenger is scared to compete in case he is over-exposed as a fraud. With the resources at his disposal, third, but mostly fourth-place is his comfort zone.
He is a very ordinary, out-dated manager who is incapable of taking Arsenal to the next level.
“The fans have no voice and no representative at Board level”
Really – no sugar. Where were you when the club was being sold off for hundreds of millions? Tell me who are the fans running any team in this league. Seriously? Cut out the armchair communist stuff.
“….Debuchy, Gibbs, Mertersacker, Arteta, Flamini, Rosicky, Walcott, Welbeck and Giroud should be nowhere near a club of Arsenal’s stature. And before you defend any of those players, ask yourself if Chelsea, City or United would want them, or Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or even Dortmund would entertain any of them…..”
Cazorla : has performed well in the middle e.g. vs Man City. you can’t be serious.
Debuchy: For the record, Debuchy had the best performance of any right back in the league the season before we bought him. He was unlucky with the leg break. In any case Bellerin is even better – curious you avoid any discussion of him. but if you can find a better backup right back at a top four team in this league, speak up. Ditto for Gibbs. Show me a better backup left back please.
Giroud: averaging a goal every other game roughly. He cost “only” 12 million, which is why you hate him. Again for the record he almost went to Bayern the summer we bought him. Deal was lined up, a the last moment they went for Adzuki instead and that is how we got him. But if you can find a better target man in the league again speak up.
Atria: is on the bench and rarely plays. Ditto Flamini, these are squad players. Its not like other top clubs don’t have them. And Flamini almost certainly gone by the end of season
Walcott: You are deluded here. Any of the top six in this league would take him in a minute if we sold him. On their bench they have the likes of Bony, Remy, Falcao who have nowhere his scoring or assist record.
Welbeck: low blow to be listing injured players. Really I think you’re struggling
Mertesacky: he aint pretty, but he does the job
Isn’t it incredible how many players are suddenly cursed by bad luck when they play for Arsenal.
Didn’t Crystal Palace fans rescue their club from liquidation? And Liverpool fans chased off Gillet and Hicks, so fan pressure does work if applied properly.
I don’t need to discuss Bellerin, he took two games to show us that Wenger had wasted another £10-12m.
One game for Cazorla when City were having a mid-season wobble? I asked you when Cazorla dictated or changed a game against any of our main rivals. In fact, Mesut Ozil can’t even do that and he cost £42.5m.
There’s a reason Debuchy was at Newcastle. And after his ‘great’ season at Newcastle, were Europe’s elite lining up to sign him? No, just Arsenal.
Monreal should be our back up left back, he is better than Gibbs. Chelsea just bought Baba Rahman (*sp) for £21m. It’s what you do when you want to win major trophies like the PL and CL.
I don’t care how much Giroud cost, he isn’t an elite striker. Costa, Aguero, Rooney, Lewandowski, Benzema, Bacca, Suarez, Aubemyang (*sp – Dortmund), even Benteke are all better than Giroud.
Whether or not Arteta plays is not the issue, he should never have been signed in the first place. And the needless re-signing of Flamini was Wenger’s frugality not wanting to buy the quality required to make the difference.
What exactly has Walcott done in his nine and a half years at Arsenal, apart from rinse the club of money?
Has he been a game-changer to be worthy of £140,000 a week? Has he stepped up when it really mattered?
I don’t care if Welbeck is the healthiest player in the world, he lacks the basic technical ability to be anything other than ordinary. Which naturally made him perfect for Wenger at £16m.
As was Mertersacker at £10m, Wenger’s MO. Milk turns quicker than BFG. Why do you think Germany dropped him from their starting XI once they’d made it through their comfortable Group in Brazil 2014? Because he isn’t top tier, and not the player to take Arsenal to the required level.
Lord Harris said we could buy anyone apart from Messi and Ronaldo. The lack of real ambition from Wenger is stinking The Emirates out.
Now, I’ve answered your questions, so why don’t you address mine.
It doesn’t matter how much you defend the players – and I accept it isn’t their fault – but deep down, we all know collectively they are a bit short of where we as a club should be, and that responsibility starts and ends with the manager. Wenger’s frugality, tactical naivety and propensity for constantly putting square pegs into round holes (playing players out of position) has held the club back and continues to do so. Even a big Wenger fan like you will find that damn near impossible to defend.
Yes they all suck – except if they were on other teams you’d be bellyaching for Arsenal to buy them.
You complain all day – and you dont even grasp that in today’s game Ashley Young made more money than anyone on Arsenal – THREE years ago. Today, Raheem Sterling is on the same money as Giroud and Walcott, barely less than Sanchez. Wake up man.
Give yourself a break on the whining and go watch some football. I mean you are football fan, right? Or just a complainer? To me it sounds like you dont even like football and you live in some fantasy world where someone else stumps up 500 million to buy Arsenal and you get to strut around and play chairman with their money. Really….
I’ve been watching Arsenal, and football since the late 1960’s. My first idol as a boy was Charlie George, so please don’t patronise or get sarcastic. It doesn’t matter how much football I watch, whether it be Brazil’s brilliant 1970 WC winners, Holland’s ‘Total Football’, or even Liam Brady’s wonder-goal at the Lane when we mashed the Spuds 5-0, it’s not going to change my opinion on the malaise currently poisoning my club.
If you’re a true red-blooded Gooner, you will know our fantastic club’s history.
Under the ownership of Henry Norris and the stewardship of Herbert Chapman, Arsenal became the biggest and wealthiest force in football. Sadly Chapman died of pneumonia after watching Arsenal Reserves, in January 1934, but his legacy continued with George Allison, and Chapman’s side dominated the 1930’s.
But you know this. The pivotal point in Arsenal’s history is post-WWII, because new ownership brought about a whole paradigm shift, which exists to this day. The Hill-Wood’s and Bracewell-Smith’s took control of the most powerful football force in the world and point-blank refused to continue this theme, because they’re Old Etonians and aristocracy whose first love is money. They allowed Arsenal to go 17 years without a trophy, and they made plenty of weak, silly choices. Like for example appointing Terry Neill when there was a dynamic young Bobby Robson, who went on to win a UEFA Cup with Ipswich.
But by far their biggest most embarrassing mistake was allowing Alex Ferguson to walk away. They agreed terms, but because Ferguson was care-taker manager of Scotland, he had the Mexican WC to prepare for.
He asked Arsenal to delay the press-conference for two weeks, Arsenal wanted to announce it straight away and refused, so the deal was off. The whole BoD who made that decision should be shot.
And you could say ‘hindsight is a wonderful thing after the event’, but Ferguson had already broken up the Old Firm dominance in Scotland with Aberdeen, and beat Real Madrid in the CWC Final in 1983, so the pedigree had already been proved.
So in summary, my over-riding issue with Arsenal is that Norris and Chapman built a super-club, which the Hill-Wood’s and Bracewell-Smith’s neutered. And unless the club grow them balls back, we will forever be stuck in that cycle of under-achieving nearly men. Wenger’s transfers since moving stadium reflect exactly that. A massive club with a weak manager, scared to compete.
Carlo Ancelotti, a three times CL winner is out of work, whilst Wenger, zero CL and who can only dream of being on that level, is being rewarded £8m every year to continually fall short. Complete utter madness.
that should shut the deluded guy up. Wenger has simply brainwashed most of our fans over the years
More like you are a collection of the blind leading the blind. Mostly interesting in complaining.