“Arsenal Members’ Day 2015” (CC BY 2.0) by joshjdss
Arsene Wenger frustrated Arsenal supporters by not adding a prolific striker to his squad in the summer transfer window. The Gunners completed a deal before the deadline for Lucas Perez to bolster their options, but the Spaniard has yet to open his account in the Premier League.
The North London outfit have enjoyed a strong start to the campaign, despite suffering an embarrassing defeat to Liverpool on the opening day. Wenger’s men are once again in contention for the top-flight crown, and the addition of a top forward from the continent could drive them towards their first title win in 13 years.
Arsenal are backed in the latest Bet365 Premier League betting odds at 11/2 to end their drought, but could those chances improve with a move for a proven marksman? When the Gunners were at the height of their powers in the English top flight Thierry Henry was scoring goals for fun, guiding Wenger’s men to two championships.
Since then the club have lacked a 20-goal striker which has prevented them from lifting the trophy in May; a strong case in point is Olivier Giroud’s fall from grace last season. The Frenchman endured a 15-game drought in front of the net that coincided with the Gunners’ decline in form, allowing Leicester City to secure the title.
“Olivier Giroud” (CC BY 2.0) by Ronnie Macdonald
The difference between Arsenal and the Foxes was that Jamie Vardy found the net all season without a lengthy drought. Although the Gunners have started the season well in front of goal, scoring 19 goals in their nine matches thus far, their goalless draw against Middlesbrough proved that a predatory forward could be the missing piece of the puzzle that ends their search for the Premier League crown.
Wenger attempted to address this by bidding for Vardy, only for the England international to turn down the move to the Emirates. Alexandre Lacazette was linked with a switch to the Gunners, but there was no credible evidence that the club made an approach for his signature.
The Lyon striker will again be touted with a move to Arsenal in January, but a player that could be wearing red and white come the end of the window is Mauro Icardi. The Argentine has made himself quite unpopular with the Inter Milan fans due to comments made in his autobiography, despite his talent on the pitch.
Supporters of the Nerazzurri went as far as to jeer Icardi when he missed a penalty in their defeat to Cagliari, which may be enough to convince the 23-year-old to quit the San Siro for pastures new. Inter are struggling in Serie A and cashing in on their captain could allow them to strengthen in other areas of the team as well as appeasing their fanbase.
Icardi is a rising talent and has plenty of pedigree in front of goal, which would only increase with Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla providing the ammunition. During his time with Inter he has scored goals at a record of better than a strike every other match, while the Argentine provides a dual threat, dominating in the air as well as with his left foot.
He would command a hefty price tag, but the striker would be invaluable on the pitch, not only with his goals, as the Argentine’s presence would create further opportunities for Sanchez, Ozil and Theo Walcott to shine. It would be a pretty big statement from Wenger to sign Icardi, but one that could pay huge dividends and perhaps see him end his time at the Emirates Stadium on a high note as he reaches the twilight of his managerial career.