With Arsenal’s star center forward, Olivier Giroud, rumored to be out for three to four months with a broken bone in his foot, manager Arsene Wenger will soon have to decide on whether or not to buy an additional striker before the deadline day comes to an end on Monday night. Giroud was injured at the latter stages of Arsenal’s 2-2 draw at Everton at the weekend when a ball struck his foot just as it was landing on the ground.
Wenger initially stated that Giroud “will not play (against Besiktas) and he will see a specialist (Wednesday). After that we will make an announcement of how long he will be out for.” Following Arsenal’s big 1-0 victory over Besiktas, subsequently qualifying for the Champions League group stage for the 17th consecutive season, Wenger confirmed Arsenal fan’s fears saying, “The news is that (Giroud) had surgery today. It went well. To be competitive at the top level he will be out until the end of December, start of January.”
The injury to the polarizing Giroud is a major loss for the Gunners. With the side qualifying for the Champions League group stage, the north London team now receives a roughly $50 million bonus. The financial boost could be used to bring in another player or two or potentially three – not only a replacement for Giroud, but perhaps a defensive midfielder and a third central defender.
Wenger commented today on if he would be willing to be in the market for additional players before Monday night. The Frenchman stated, “What is important is the performance on the pitch and not who we buy. But we are open to buying in every position.” The last sentence should perk up Arsenal fans around the world.
There have already been a host of names to be mentioned as Arsenal targets at the striker position. Without a doubt the two biggest names rumored are PSG’s Edinson Cavani and Monaco’s Radamel Falcao. Both Ligue 1 standouts would cost the Gunners in the $80 million range, and Wenger has been a longtime fan of both of the world-class players. Cavani is supposedly unsettled at PSG, as he is normally deployed on the flanks rather than through the middle. Although the French giants do have a pretty decent center forward in Zlatan Ibrahimović. The Daily Express is already suggesting that Arsenal is set to launch a bid for Cavani.
Falcao, on the other hand, is allegedly available for a season-long loan from Monaco for a measly $33 million. The Colombian is also reportedly interested in joining the Gunners, however, shelling out $33 million for a one-year loan seems absolutely ludicrous. Arsenal will also have to battle out Real Madrid if they wish to sign Falcao.
Alessio Cerci, Loic Remy, Danny Welbeck, Nikola Zigic and even Gonzalo Higuain – now that Napoli have been knocked out of the Champions League by Athletico Bilbao – have all also been reported targets of the Gunners. Nevertheless, Wenger revealed in his post-match press conference that he will not try to sign Welbeck from Manchester United or the free agent Zigic.
While Cerci is a solid player, he is not quite the player in which the Gunners are in need of at the moment. The Italian international is more of a secondary striker or winger rather than an out-and-out No 9. Remy would be a decent option, but there are concerns of health problems following his reported failed medical with Liverpool earlier in the summer.
Whether or not Wenger moves for a star center forward will most likely come down to if he believes the players that he presently has at the position give the team a realistic chance to win the Premier League. While Giroud is injured, the Gunners currently have Alexis Sanchez, Yaya Sanogo, Lukas Podolski, Joel Campbell, and the soon-to-be returning Theo Walcott up front. While that lineup of forwards is certainly nothing to sneeze at, obtaining a world-class center forward would give the Gunners a far greater injection to their title chances.
Arsenal spent 128 days atop the Premier League table last season without a world-class striker and should be considered contenders to challenge Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City to win the championship this season, however, a move for Cavani, Falcao, or Higuain could, and most likely would, put them firmly in the picture.