Welcome to part one of trying to identify who would be the perfect striker signing for Arsenal.
Right now, Arsenal have made some decent summer signings and have gradually strengthened a number of positions. We no longer have a centre back crisis, I would argue we have decent strength in the full-back positions, we have a long-term option between the sticks and finally some decent midfielders in the likes of Partey, Lokonga, Odegaard and Smith Rowe. That one spot that currently eludes us is arguably the most important. Arsenal have really demonstrated under Arteta that we are not clinical enough in the final third. Somtimes, we simply do not create enough chances, but with Aubameyang not getting any younger it is becoming clear that even if we have truly fixed our lack of creativity, we will never be back in the big leagues until we have a top-class striker up top.
So, here is how this series will work. Each article I will compare the stats and styles of a number of potential targets for Arsenal. Some will be names we have been linked with, some will be players which many fans have been crying out for and some will be hidden gems that have gone under the radar. Each article will contain a vote, where one of the strikers discussed will progress through to the next round. Over the next couple of weeks, your choices will determine the final 2 and finally you will vote for who you think Arsenal should sign as their new marquee striker!
Gabriel Jesus joined City with the expectations of being a long-term heir to Aguero. However, up until now it seems that Pep Guardiola does not trust him as his go-to number 9. However, that does not mean he would not suit Arsenal.
Team: Manchester City. Age: 24. Value: £54 million.
2020/21 – goals: 14, assists: 4, G/A per 90: 0.57, positions: CF and LW
Jesus is a striker who has had the job of trying to tactically fit in with one of the most meticulous managers in the world. Generally, his City career has been one of sacrifices. City have plenty of magical players capable of producing moments of brilliance, and Jesus is often used to facilitate these players. However, thanks to his time at City he has developed some key attributes. He has always been a very good dribbler and is able to drift into channels and link play with midfielders. He has also always struck me as a good finisher. He generally plays as a poacher at City but if that is not working in a given game, he is comfortable with drifting into wider positions. He does well with chances when they come his way and is technically a very tidy footballer, even if he does not yet possess world-class striker’s instincts.
My Thoughts –
I would love Jesus at Arsenal. He is accustomed to the Premier League and has the potential to really kick on in an environment that caters to him a bit more. We need a striker who can help the team even when he isn’t scoring goals and with his work rate and link-up play, I think he could do that. However, it would have to cost significantly less than £54 million. Anything north of £40 million would be overpaying.
Schick had been linked with a Premier League move all summer, though not with Arsenal, after an impressive campaign at the European championships. Could he be the man to fire Arsenal back to the top?
Team: Bayer Leverkusen. Age: 25. Value: £25 million
2020/21 – goals: 13, assists 2, G/A per 90: 0.59, positions: CF
Schick did not exactly set the Bundesliga alight in his debut Leverkusen season last year, however off the back of such a strong Euros and 3 goals from 4 games to start this season, that looks set to change. Stylistically, he is like a watered-down version of DCL from what I have seen. Very competent in the air and thrives with playing with his back to goal, holding off defenders, laying the ball off to teammates and then running into the box to try and finish the move. He certainly is a focal point and would be different to what we are used to. In fact, with the likes of Odegaard and Tierney providing crosses, I think his goal output would increase at Arsenal.
My thoughts –
I like Schick but I don’t love him. My worry is next season he will be 26 and is yet to score more than 15 goals in a European top 5 league, making me struggle to think he could do so consistently in the Premier League. Some fans have suggested he would be a good signing and I don’t think it would be a bad one, but it would not reassure me that the team is ready to challenge for titles again.
Perhaps the most outside-of-the-box shout in this episode, but certainly the most versatile, would be Ukrainian Roman Yaremchuk. Again, prior to his Euros campaign he would not really be on the radar, but he demonstrated a real eye for goal and was heavily involved for Ukraine. Could he be the answer?
Team: Benfica. Age: 25. Value: £15.75 million.
2020/21 – goals: 23, assists: 8, G/A per 90: 0.78. Positions: CF, RW
Yaremchuck is quite different from Schick in that he is not a super-traditional CF. In fact, he is similar to Gabriel Jesus in the way he does not always stay central. In fact, he quite enjoys picking up positions out wide and dropping deep to get his team up the pitch. What I would say is that his history and ability as a winger has enabled him to be very cute with some of his runs. Sure, he is not as direct a threat as Schick or even Jesus, but he is very savvy at arriving at the right place at the right time.
My thoughts –
I actually prefer this move to Schick. He is a smart striker, good in the air and an instinctive finisher. However, comparing him to Gabriel Jesus I would argue that even though he has proven himself to be more effective (albeit in a lesser league), he is technically not as complete a player. His first touch for example does not seem brilliant, which it would need to be in a team where oppositions would sit off us and he would almost always be receiving the ball with defenders behind him. The silver lining to this is that he is good in the air, so in games where teams sit off us, he can be a threat in other ways.
So, with all that in mind, who would you choose?
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons