Coming off of a season in which one Arsenal player, Olivier Giroud, scored more than half of the team’s goals scored by forwards (22 out of 42), there was little doubt that the North London club would strengthen its front line before the start of the 2014-15 campaign. The Gunners quickly made moves by splashing $50 million for Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez and recalling youngster (and World Cup standout) Joel Campbell from a season-long loan at Olympiacos.
Although Arsenal is integrating both Sanchez and Campbell into the squad for the upcoming season, some pundits say that the Gunners still need another striker. The team has needs in other areas of the squad though, so the question remains: should Arsenal buy another center forward?
Before answering the all-important question, let’s take a look at the strikers that Arsenal already have in the team.
Giroud is somehow massively underrated. Last season the France international was 6th in the Premier League in goals scored (16) and 8th in the league in assists (8). Only Luis Suarez, Yaya Toure, and Wayne Rooney managed to finish in the top eight in both goals and assists in the Premier League last season. The 6’4” center forward is very good in the air, has an outstanding first touch, and his hold-up play rivals that of any other striker in England. Giroud is a proper center forward and only needs someone to help with the immense workload that comes with the club being in four competitions throughout the season. He was clearly running on empty at times last season, but had to soldier on as Arsenal had no viable alternative to give him a rest.
While Walcott is normally deployed out on the right flank, the England international can also be used as a center forward. The 25-year-old Walcott was Arsenal’s top goal scorer two seasons ago, and although he was injured for much of last year’s campaign, Walcott managed to score five Premier League goals in just 13 appearances during the 2013-14 season. Walcott is widely known for his penetrating pace, but the England man is also a good finisher (36 goals over his last 108 Premier League matches). When he was deployed as a center forward during a league match against Newcastle in 2012, Walcott netted a hat trick (while also providing two assists) in the 7-3 victory. However, he is coming off a major knee injury and won’t be available to play until late September.