If we did need a striker, who would it be?

By Tony Attwood

Five strikers to solve Arsenal’s supposed problems.

As you may know, if you have followed Untold through our difficult times of late, I’m not at all convinced we need another striker.   But the fact is that we did make a title charge, once the focus of a flurry of online betting at completebetting.com and other bookmakers, but it didn’t come to pass, although out of course we kept going in the cup.

So inevitably there has been all the regular debate about the need to score goals.  As the statistics show, Giroud has scored as many in his second season as Henry did in his second season, and if you look back at the press reports of Henry in season II there was no big feeling that this was a guy who was about to become the all-time hero.

I’ve also argued that the supply of the ball to the forwards is vital, that the return of Mesut Ozil is vital, that Ramsey was our leading scorer until the injury, that Theo and Pod can do their bit, and Sanogo is one for the future.

But of course such positive thoughts fall on deaf ears.

So just in case you are interested, here are five strikers who could solve the Arsenal “attacking dilemma” if such a thing actually exists, courtesy of Marcus Banks.


The impending arrival of Robert Lewandowski has raised questions marks over the future of Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic. With the Borussia Dortmund man seemingly the most likely to start at the Allianz Arena, Mandzukic’s playing time will decrease despite a good season for Bayern.

Despite the arrival of another striker, Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer says it doesn’t mean the Croatian will be sold. However, Mandzukic could be tempted by the offer of first team football at the Emirates.

The former Wolfsburg striker would add work rate, power and determination to the Arsenal attack. He is strong in the air and would be a handful for any Premier League defender. With Ozil and Santi Cazorla behind him, Mandzukic could thrive in England and Arsenal could thrive with him in the league.

One old rumour was that Arsenal were lining up a move for Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa but another says the striker has virtually sealed a move to Chelsea Oilmen This leaves Mandzukic as a handy alternative.


Another target is said to be Jackson Martinez. The Colombian has gained an impressive reputation in Portugal after filling the oversized shoes left behind by Radamel Falcao at Porto. He’s 27, scored 18 goals in 27 appearances in the Liga Portuguesa this season and got two in the Champions League.

Martinez is a lethal finisher and could easily be partnered with Giroud to create an attacking duo. Martinez has also revealed he was an avid Arsenal fan as a child and expressed a desire to play for us.

His sale would follow the trend of recent years where Portuguese clubs have sold their star players for huge transfer fees; Joao Moutinho, Hulk, James Rodriguez and Falcao to name a few. It is reported Porto would want £30m.  Who knows.


Arsenal are also said to be “monitoring” the recovery of Jay Rodriguez after a knee injury ruled the Southampton striker out of the World Cup. Rodriguez had been in fine form and was in line for a World Cup place before the injury.

Rodriguez is a versatile forward who can operate right across the forward line. The 24 year old was reportedly targeted by both Liverpool and Tottenham before his injury but a move could still be on the cards for the former Burnley man.

The striker did well under Mauricio Pochettino this season with 15 Premier League goals to his name; joint fifth highest in the league along with Sergio Aguero and Rooney. Southampton seem adamant they will not sell their prized assets unless they receive a huge transfer fee  – but that is the normal chatter at this stage.


Loic Remy provides an option for Arsenal at a relatively cheap price. Remy has proven he can rough it and has scored 13 goals in an average squad.

The on loan striker is going to leave Arry’s Gang whose dog Rosie said, “Remy wants to play Champions League football next season, so they tell me. The chances of us keeping him are not great if he’s got a buy-out clause.”  (You might think that Arry would know, but maybe the owners don’t trust him with data).

The buy-out clause stands at around £15m which a cheaper option compared to other strikers on the market. Remy possesses pace, technical ability and is strong on the ball.

The former Marseilles man is keen on a move to the Emirates according to a source close to the forward. He has attracted interest from Tottenham, but then so has everyone, but will snub a move to the Lilywhites in favour of Arsenal as he is a big fan of Thierry Henry of whom you may have heard.


It is said (as it is always “said”) that Arsene Wenger is a fan of the Benfica striker who would fit right in with the Arsenal ethos. “Intelligent on the ball, quick and clever”, it is said, making him the perfect fit for Wenger.

Cousin to Thiago and Rafinha Alcantara, Rodrigo has been attracting attention from all over Europe plus in Liverpool, Manchester United and at Inter Milan.   The 23 year old has netted 11 league goals under Jorge Jesus this season.

His national team-mate Alvaro Morata has also been mentioned as a possible target but some say Rodrigo is the better option to bolster our attacking line. He is lethal feeding off through balls, making clever passes and a quality dribbler.

Benfica have inevitably “slapped” (why are they always “slapped”?) a £28m price tag on their striker, a fee which Wenger is reportedly willing to meet. This huge transfer fee could be a massive gamble with Rodrigo only getting one league goal during his loan spell with Bolton. On the other hand, it could prove to be a stellar signing, one that significantly boosts our scoring ability.



31 Replies to “If we did need a striker, who would it be?”

  1. Welcome back Untold. I think we DO need a new striker if we are to compete in all competitions until the end of the season. Giroud suffered without Ramsey, Ozil and Theo but that perhaps demonstrates that he is a very good player, but not yet a great one. His scoring record is very good but he is not TH14. I think that champions need world class players – we have Ozil, Ramsey, Koscielny and Sir Ches. Add a striker in that class and replace Sagna and Vermalaen (who i think will leave for new pastures) and we have the making of a top top side.
    Next season Ozil, Rambo, Ox, Jack, Chamberlain, Gnabry will all be better and we have Joel Campbell to return. Can Sanogo be expected to be Ollie’s back-up yet, I don’t think so – I’d send him on loan till xmas. Others around the fringes (Zelalem, Akpom, Hayden) are all promising but a year or more off. We also need to do something about the U21s who were relegated last week…

  2. @blacksheep 63,
    I join you in anticipating Joel Campbell in an Arsenal shirt next term. Having turned out regularly for Olympiacos this season, there should be no reason for a further loan.
    As for Sanogo, he is indeed an exciting prospect. Despite his inexperience and clumsiness he reminds me of an early Adebayor but with better manners.

  3. Would like theo to play that role next year. his finishing and off the ball movement is already great. And he has pace. Every thing we want to complement giroud . Buy griezmann to replace him on the flanks.

  4. I am sure that we will bring in additions to our forward line in summer. The question is do we need anyone else above Joel Campbell and if so do we need a backup or complimentary player to Giroud?
    I may be wrong but I think that Campbell is more of a backup to Theo or Podolski rather than a back to goal central striker in the Giroud sense which is where Sanogo will probably be.
    Chuba Akpong will be knocking on the door of the first team squad next year and looks a really good prospect he should get a chance in cup games next year with some substitute appearances where game situations permit.
    Where does that leave us then?
    Main man – Giroud with Sanogo as backup and Chuba as further backup
    Wide forwards – Podolski, Theo, and Campbell
    Goal scoring midfielders – Ramsey, Ozil, Ox, Gnabry, Rosicky
    I looked at the players points scores in the Telegraph Fantasy Football competition this week and for forwards, Suarez is miles ahead but Giroud was in second place (so not too shabby).
    Don’t get me wrong, I think that currently there is a big gap between Giroud and Sanogo and a big gap between Giroud and Suarez who is the best in the country, and I would love to see us bring in another experienced striker. If we do don’t expect miracles in the first year though – if from abroad it will take the best part of a year for them to get used to the Prem. If already in the Prem, it will still take three months to integrate fully into the team.

  5. I think we need a striker with real pace, someone who can make intelligent runs into the box and convert those desperately needed half-chances that are a definite requirement of any genuine title contender – there were too many spurned opportunities this season in front of goal. Arsenal have a tremendous midfield with players who are operating at the highest level; we need a striker who will maximize this advantage to the full.

  6. Wilfried Bony ? Has had a good first season in the EPL and should be able to play the Arsenal way .

  7. I think for many of us transfer speculation is a guilty pleasure, it definitely is for me.

    Just in the Premier League I think there are a few reasonable targets: Welbeck, Javier Hernandez, Dzeko (maybe), Lukaku, Rodriguez, Bony, Remy. But who knows.

  8. I’m convinced we’re already a lot closer to a genuine title challenge than some might suggest. No team could survive the extended loss of Walcott and Ramsey without loosing ground to those with huge squads or better fortune on the injury front. It’s not as simple as just buy top quality players in bulk. That kind of quality doesn’t grow on trees and equally doesn’t sign as cover. Yes we should strengthen in the summer, but even the current crew will be a major force next season.
    As for the question of a striker? I think Romelu Lukaku would be a great option. While we’re at it, is there a better right back on the planet than Seamus Coleman of Everton? If Mons. Sagna is getting greedy there’s the answer.

  9. Dec I don’t think Sagna is greedy, he has the opportunity to leave on a Bosman and double his salary yes, but in a year’s time we might be calling for him to be subbed or left out altogether. He has been a consistent performer for us and if he wants pastures new then I for one will wish him well. I just hope those pastures are outside the Prem.

  10. Wenger himself has stated a possibility that we will go for Mandzukic next summer. Enter Ajax-Dinamo 2:3 in YouTube and you’ll see how great Mandzukic has been since 2007. Dinamo led by Modric and Mandzukic managed to overturn one-goal-deficit from Zagreb against strong Ajax team (Suarez, Huntelaar, Stam, Van der Wiel, Emanuelson). He is great in the air and capable of scoring in big matches. However, he was involved in an incident wth raised right hand in Germany. With English media at his neck, he might be pictured as a Nazi.

  11. blacksheep63 (@11.12am),

    Hear, hear!

    While I want Sagna to stay, I won’t begrudge him if he leaves. Our fans are not the most loyal. The same people crying the most that he should stay now will also be the first to ask for him to be replaced as soon as his form drops.

    What Sagna decides to do, I wish him only the best. He has been a wonderful employee of our great club.

  12. It should not be a question of ‘if Giroud is not good enough, then who?’. There is simply is no ‘if’ there. Giroud is not good enough to lead our line, period. For all his positives, they guy lacks pace, finishing skills and technical qualities.

    For heaven’s sake, please stop the comparisons with Henry. Henry was 22 when he came into the club. Giroud was 26 when he came to Arsenal. Henry scored 48 goals in his first 2 seasons while Giroud is on 37 with 4 games to go. Henry basically outscored Giroud in his first two seasons, while starting in fewer games (same total appearances but fewer starts) when the responsibility was not entirely on him to score- Kanu, Wiltord were able deputies. The comparison is thus utterly ridiculous.

    We absolutely need someone else. Not really excited by Mandzukic. The guy works for the team, heads the ball well and links up with the midfielders quite decently but lacks pace and is nowhere close to being a deadly finisher. Sounds like a fancier version of our very own Ollie G. Rodrigo, Lacazette and Immobile are all less heralded names but the fact that they are young, skilful and pacey all work in their favour.

  13. @ Bootoomee

    Completely agree with you on Sagna. It happened as recently as 12 months ago after he conceded that reckless penalty against united. A lot of people were calling for his head then, calling him totally uncommitted to the cause.

  14. Would like to see podolski in more of a striker supporting role, but that could need a change in formation? Joel Campbell could be a good development choice. Martinez looks good, though unproven in the league, but know the club are always wary of South American players over third, fourth and maybe fifth party ownership issues….not that I know for a fact such applies to JM of course

  15. I’ve no problem with Sagna whatsoever. He’s seen out his contract in an honourable fashion (a rarity these days) and performed wonderfully during his time with us. I’d love him to stay but won’t cry if he goes. He’s greedy as far as I’m concerned in the same way as any individual who’s not satisfied with getting millions of pounds for something as petty as entertainment. The same charge is applicable to every player these days. It’s an indictment of society that we value footballers so much more than people who toil in jobs that actually make a difference.
    Probably not a conversation for a football forum but nonetheless valid in my view.
    Come on the mighty Saints, 8 more minutes to hold on.

  16. Rodriguez would be an option so towards the hectic part of the season we can rotate strikers. Plus with him being injured i dont see many people going for him except Arsenal in acquiring his services. Though people will moan we signed another injured player….

  17. I want Sagna to stay he’s been brilliant for me and I would be sadden should he leave. I don’t believe for a moment that he is a greedy player so we’ll have to agree to disagree Dec.

    Giroud’s fabulous link up play is a joy to watch not to mention some cracking finishes; Podolski’s sumptuous finishing and when Theo comes up why do we need another striker?

  18. I don’t see Sagna as being greedy, in the same way I don’t see players that join us from smaller clubs as being greedy. It’s his last contract, and if he wants a big package plus a crack at a title or the Champs League with a club who have a squad that is near to the finished article then fine. Would prefer him to go abroad of course, but he can leave with his head held high.

  19. Screw Lukaku, I do not want him; another Adebayor in the making.
    I prefer Bony, a somehow similar player, though unlikely to happen.
    Remember when we were linked with Michu? He gets the invisible man award this season.
    This brings up the issue of injuries.
    With injuries being our usual problem, with the pig-mole allowing other players to kick the hell out of our players, we need to plan with that contingency that they’ll happen.
    Oddly, the seemingly indestructible Radamel Falcao has spent most of this season out with a serious injury.
    But more importantly, a player with quickness and/or good movement will fit our style, hence the Boss being interested in Griezmann or Draxler; Drmic may be added to the list.

  20. Speed is the name of the game in modern football and especially in the EPL. We can compare Giroud’s stats with TH14’s all day long but what those stats won’t show is the one deciding factor why these two are really worlds apart – the ability to turn the football match on its head. Henry did it in his first , second and every season he played for Arsenal , something Giroud is ill equipped to do. He will never be able to receive the ball in his own half and take it in on goal, blowing past two or three defenders in the process. His inability to create his own chances from outside the box is another major difference and his persistence in trying to pass the ball into the net when putting his quite powerful foot through it should be the better option, is worry some .

    What Arsenal need is another player who can take on defenders and stretch the game in a way Walcott does. Not a prospect, we already have those in Ox and Gnabry, both with plenty of potential but not enough experience to count in important games. As things stand , it’s entirely too easy to stifle this Arsenal squad for clubs like Chelsea, Liverpool , City and even this year’s Man U.

    We don’t have to look any further than to clubs like Southampton or even Crystal Palace to see what a major headache for defenses a speedy winger or two create.

    In the Chelsea defeat to Crystal Palace , Azpilicueta and Ivanovic were tormented by speedy Puncheon and Bolasie , something Arsenal could never do even with a fit Walcott because it’s too easy to load up and double team the part of the pitch he’s on, leaving the opposite side exposed .

    The same two players were immense for Crystal Palace in their win against Everton , another side Arsenal struggled against this season , making players like Baines and Coleman who are considered the top right and left back in PL look average at best and judging from the Southampton game , they still haven’t recovered from the torment they received at the hands or feet rather of CP wingers.

  21. I think Sagna should stay, and he probably will if we win the FA cup. Then we will have a backup center back, even if a new right back is brought in or “hatched”. We know the penalty of not having enough backups, and it is only players who are getting on in age that will be willing to play less games and be a backup. The new offer of 2 yrs and option for 3rd is much better and he will probably accept if we get FA.
    Of course we need a striker, (Ramsey is not there yet, he will be that one day i’m sure, he looks like a striker to me the way he plays), as Giroud cannot be allowed to have to play all games alone, that will kill him off another season without any rest.
    Sanogo, i see some promising ways of his, and he needs a goal, to take that pressure off him, so he can concentrate on his football. In the things he tries to do, with confidence he will be a great player. Maybe we will be remembering these days 10 years later, when he got his first goal.
    But for now, an experienced striker to slot into the team, we need a confident go getter to push the others to compete and improve themselves and the team.

  22. Tom,

    As far as “blowing past two or three defenders in the process” is concerned, I don’t remember having seen Henry being hacked down with the ref doing nothing. If Henry played these days for Arsenal, it would have been much harder for him to make a difference.

    To throw my 2 cents in, I think we need reinforcements in the defensive midfield. Why, you will scream? Well, two reasons:
    1. The main reason we struggled to create chances is that we were unable to put enough bodies in front of the goal, and Giroud with all his physical strength can’t do it alone. That’s why we’ve been reliant on runs inside the box from the likes of Ramsey and, to a lesser extent, Flamini. The team looked fantastic against Wigan when we had two forwards together, Giroud and Sanogo. The downside was that of course we had a depleted midfield, which is fine against weaker teams, but is a recipe for disaster against the likes of Liverpool, who play at a high pace through the middle. What we might be looking for is the Vieira type (maybe not a coincidence) – hard tackler, yet fast and able to cover a lot of ground, pair and rotate with Ramsey/Jack, and share the offensive duties with Santi/Ozil/Ox, with attack made of two bodies among Giroud, Theo, Poldi, Sanogo and Campbell. Mikel has a few years left in him, so he will be able to complement with Flamini and Kallstrom (if he stays).
    2. Our main weakness throughout the season was that we were vulnerable at counter-attacks. Somehow, the midfield had holes in it that pacey teams were able to exploit – Chelsea, City and Liverpool notably. It seemed to me like we couldn’t keep enough cohesion and present them with a defensive wall able to protect the defenders. Addressing that issue is not easy – we’d need to either overcrowd the midfield at the expense of the attacking force, or find someone who can cover more ground in the middle third while we’re busy attacking, especially when Ramsey bombs forward. Hm, Lars Bender?

  23. Florian
    Are you suggesting the PL has become more physical since Henry retired?I’m not so sure about that. Henry used to get fouled quite a bit if my memory serves me right. Nowhere near the abuse Giroud gets but that comes mainly from playing with his back to goal which Henry rarely did.

    Other PL ‘speedsters’ get fouled all the time but manage to influence the game in a big way. Gareth Bale in his last seasons at Tottenham spent months on the sidelines mainly due to Charlie Adam and his agricultural challenges but still managed to single handedly win Tottenham some twenty add points.

    As far as our DM is concerned we do need a player to provide protection for our back four. Arteta can do the job against two/thirds of the league but isn’t quick or strong enough to be successful against the top players . Perhaps that’s why he’s revealed in a interview that he hadn’t enjoyed his stay at Arsenal as much as he thought he would. After all he is a playmaker converted to play a holding mid role.

    Flamini is more physical than Arteta but too reckless at times and can’t be trusted with his challenges or on the pitch positioning.
    Which brings me to the “wholes ” in our midfield you refer to .
    These wholes don’t just mysteriously appear in our midfield but rather are created by missed assignments like players going forward when they shouldn’t or when someone fails to cover for them when they do.

    When you think about Arsenal biggest strengths , the interchanging midfield comes to mind right away but as it often happens your biggest strengths are also your biggest weaknesses and when Arsenal loose the possession , there’s often times confusion and players being out of position to defend. You can get away with it against most clubs but not the top sides.

    When Alex Song ,who was our last proper holding midfielder, got traded to Barca ,many people said that he was no big loss because he used to make many mistakes and was undisciplined . Well , that maybe true but why was that the case? If I remember correctly Song led all Arsenal players in assists the year before he was traded. Why would a holding midfielder lead the club in assists? Surely he wasn’t freelancing , was he? Would one expect Busquets or Matic to lead their respective clubs in assists? Of course not .

    Which brings me to tactics. Some have said that Wenger doesn’t do tactics , which of course is laughable . Sure he does but another thing he does is trying to play his style of football sometimes regardless of the circumstances or the consequences. Examples of that are a plenty; 8:2 loss at OT when Arsenal were decimated with injuries or more recently 6:0 at Chelsea .
    After playing a very disciplined and almost defensive game against Chelsea in a scoreless draw at the Ems , Arsen decided to be more attack oriented away at the Bridge. Why would he do that? Did Mourinho get to him with the “boring Arsenal ” comments after the scoreless draw or was it the occasion of the one thousand game in charge? We’ll never know for sure but I know this much . Walcott wasn’t available in the reverse fixture and maybe that’s what prompted Wenger to push more players forward.
    Wenger knew he couldn’t just sit back and invite the pressure because there was no speedy outlet which could offer any threat up the pitch.

    All this of course is just my speculations but what is beyond any dispute is that speed on the football pitch gives you options and creates opportunities
    And lack of speed makes you predictable and easy to defend against.

  24. Song….still think he was a serious loss, he had enjoyed a good season, even if he at times over did the Hollywood service to RVP. Rumours Steve bould did not like song too much?
    As for tactics against the likes of Chelsea away, these need changing ASAP. When playing Chelsea, Liverpool or City away, wenger should just imagine it is Dortmund or Bayern, will work a treat.
    Lukaku….would not trust dealing with Jose, he will promise then let us down at the windows end….demba ba!!
    Still think loic Remy is on his way
    Tom, as for tricky wide speedsters, do you think we could have done more with gervinho? or was he the lost cause some fans thought he was? He was not the best finisher but good on assists, could create serious problems with defences….and seems to have had a good season in Italy. I still think we may have missed a trick there, especially with theo being injury prone, but accept I may be in the minority here. Still no point crying over spilt milk!

  25. I have no clue about looking for new people, and will just trust Arsenal, Wenger and his staff.

    People will muse.

    What I seldom see in this musing, is consideration for what has already been done.

    In the case of strikers, Arsenal has at least 1 striker at the youth level, looking to make the transition to the first team. Gnabry is the name that comes most easily to mind, but Arsenal also has young players on loan elsewhere, such as Joel Campbell (still don’t know if he got anchovied). If Gnabry or Joel Campbell or whoever, has inherent characteristics that Wenger does not want to change, that suggests that if Wenger goes to buy a player in the transfer market, he should be looking for player that share the inherent characteristics that the youth player has. It gives the youth player someone to template on, and it makes substitutions between the two easy.

  26. Mandy
    I for one was sad to see Gervinho go. Unfortunately for him , he came to Arsenal at a time when there was and still is very little patience afforded to players by the fans. His Arsenal career couldn’t have started any worse either , with the self righteous Burton extending his ‘welcome mat’ and getting Gervinho suspended in his first game.

    Every club needs squad players and Gervinho could’ve been a good one, unfortunately it didn’t work out.

  27. Yes, a shame about Gervinho, just hope we can win a trophy and that can bring about a bit more fan patience with the monkey off the back. Saw gervinho a few times, notably at home to olympiacos when he scored and generally looked quite amazing. But he is a player that needs confidence. There are times this season, especially when the injuries hit and we became a bit predictable and one paced in some games where I really wished we had gervinho. But at times, I even found myself wishing we had santos in a forward left role…..tho maybe not in defence….

  28. We need someone with pace,Mandzukic is not good enough.I think Poldolski will definitely be sold this summer and I believe Giroud will be too:Wenger was NOT amused by his pre match shenanigans and believes that he disrespected the club and his teammates by smuggling tarts into the hotel a few hours before kick off.Do not be surprised to see Giroud return to France.I like the Nuremburg lad Drimic,and would be happy to see him and maybe Remy,i would like Reus but that will never ever happen!!! Jay Rodriguez is a good shout but it looks like Southampton will have the bones picked out of them this summer.Draxler would be cool but Balotelli is just too temperamental.Pace and Power and Strikers have replaced the Barca 2008 team ideal.

  29. I thought wenger stated we need wingers and how poldi is the only natural winger we have in the team, I expect us to go for a wideman or 2 and move ox to the center. As for a CF, I would rather we have a fit Giroud,theo with sanogo and Campbell as backup. Akpom needs a PL/championship loan and miyaichi I would send him to Ajax on loan again.

  30. Watching a number of’leading clubs’ this season it appears that their tactics are changing, defending deep and in numbers with the counter attack the preferred method of trying to score.

    Arsenal do not play in this way,thank god and Arsene.

    Even Bayern find it difficult to score when teams defend in this way, putting in more crosses than at any time in the past 4 5 seasons, with RM double teaming the wide dribblers Bayern were sterile.

    It seems the best way to defeat such defenses is to pass through them, this requires very mobile, quick thinking technical players. NOT a centre forward who relies on crosses.

    I suspect more mobile so called MFs , will be brought in.With an emphasis on players who can ‘pick the pass’ (like Ozil or Cesc).

    Watch this space as it is moving with modern trends.

  31. My preference is Bony or player if his ilk to accompany the players we have. His strength will be the major asset as he will be in for some hard knocks playing for Arsenal. We have an inhouse replacement for Sagna in Bellarin. He is strong and quick and will be a support to CJ. CJ has been there when we needed him and as a gooner we should hang on to him. He is improving and with Bellarin will cover the right back position.

    Sagna has been brilliant for Arsenal and has done everything and more asked of him.

    The truth is Wenger knows best and though we fell apart without our key midfield players, we might have had a decent season. Injuries are an issue that will only be resolved by HONEST Referees (pigs might fly).

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