Strengthening the Arsenal Squad Part 4 – Forward

Déjà vu. Groundhog Day. A season supporting Arsenal football club. Nothing ever seems to change with our club, as we slowly slowly slide down the pole of mediocrity. What we thought would be an improved season after the first year of missing out on a top four place in 20 0dd years has rather turned out to be a kick in the guts, by players who just have not pulled their weight; be it their own faults, that of the manager or some combination of the two. What has been glaring though, has been the need for quality, strong reinforcements in the spine of the team; Goalkeeper, Central Defence, Central Midfield/Defensive Midfield and at Forward. I will pick and talk about each position and whom I believe we can bring on board to strengthen these vital roles, on a series basis.

Click for Part 1 – Goalkeepers.

Click for Part 2 – Central Defence.

Click for Part 3 – Midfield.

FORWARD- PART 4.

The Premier League over decades has been blessed with a large number of impressive forwards who have set ablaze the league with their eye for goal and spectacular performances. Arsenal football club has provide for the entertainment of fans and neutrals alike a huge chunk of these world class forwards.

Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Ian Wright, Robert Pires, Nwanko Kanu, Robin Van Persie. Frank Stapleton, Joe Baker, Jack Lambert, Alan Smith. I could go on and on with lists of phenomenal strikers from time immemorial. For a long while after Thierry Henry eloped to Barcelona to enjoy the Catalonian sunlight, we could not find a replacement like him who could bag twenty to thirty league goals a season, one reason we may have fallen short severally when it’s counted in the league.

Players such as Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Eduardo da Silva amongst others did all they could at various points in the club’s history to drag us to league triumph yet fell short at every turn, due to injuries, poor form, inconsistency or a mix of any. Over a year or so, Arsene Wenger has added to the ranks two of the finest finishers in European football in the last half decade or so. Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bring tons and tons of goals along with them from France and Germany respectively.

These transfers both over the 50 million pound threshold have Arsenal looking healthy in at least one department; Striker. They bring an array of skills and variations to their games that mean the team can play different styles with either of them or even both utilized at once. Despite Laca-Yang covering the striker position ably, we still have shortcomings in the other forward slots.

Iwobi, Mkhitaryan and Welbeck

Iwobi, Mkhitaryan and Welbeck

Welbeck and Iwobi are two of the players who enjoy the most minutes amongst all the forward players in the first team, yet their performances often leave a lot to be desired. With his promotion to the first team, Iwobi played with a certain freedom and like a young man who had his career to play for. These days, he looks like one who is comfortable just being around the club and not like a player who is ready to ‘put on his gloves’ to go to work. His performances for the Nigerian national team are almost always close to excellent, so you wonder if the problem really might be at Arsenal after all.

Welbeck. A nice guy. An affable character. Yet the club needs more fighters and growl-in-your-face type players and not yes men ‘happy to be there.’ He tries his best always, yet it almost never is good enough. He is full of energy and graft, yet his skills are almost non-existent and even when he scores, they mostly are scuffed or deflected efforts. Believe me, I like his industry and tirelessness but I believe we need more in the forward roles. We need in addition to industry and tirelessness, players filled with immense skill, craft and guile. We need men who with pace can drag players out of position or beat them with dribbling abilities that will leave fans with their mouths gaping. Players such as these.

Wilfried Zaha

Wilfried Zaha

Wilfried Zaha. The Ivorian has taken his game to enormous proportions this season. Always known as the guy who had skill yet no end product, he has taken huge responsibility this year at Crystal Palace, and thus has been the standout performer in what has been a dour season. He has pace to burn and dribbling ability which he has learned to use when necessary nowadays. Due to the skills he is blessed with, he is able to easily attract fouls from opponents around dangerous areas, leading to them being banged in by his teammate and dead ball specialist, Luka Milivojevic. He may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Zaha is an upgrade on our wide forward options currently.

Julian Draxler

Julian Draxler

Lost in all the hubbub surrounding Neymar and Mbappe at PSG, has been one dynamic, young German who is electric to watch when he is given a chance. Julian Draxler had been watched for several years by Arsenal yet chose to join the project at PSG. He has been largely overlooked even when others ahead of him have not performed well, yet when he has played, the brilliance Arsenal fans saw not too long ago when hooked on his YouTube compilations is brought to bear. The 23 year old has shown flashes of his dazzling close control and dribbling which leaves defenders in a daze from time to time. His passing which is heavily underrated is of the highest quality, making him tailor made for Arsenal. It finally may be time to go ahead and bring Draxler home to what is a heavily influenced German- Arsenal dressing room.

Lorenzo Insigne

Lorenzo Insigne

The 26 year old Napoli standout performer, Lorenzo Insigne is having a terrific season. Playing in the ‘Sanchez’ role, he has bagged 20 goals and assists. Cutting on to his right foot from the left, he is lethal as he has a brilliant passing range and can unleash thunderbolts from afar if necessary. Some may argue we do not need another ball hogger from the left wing, a la the Chilean Kevin Mirallas, but you can never say no to having several goal scorers all over the field of play. Also, he does not hog the ball as much, as he enjoys the intricate passing football for which Arsenal is renowned and could slot in seamlessly into the team.

The forward line of every club ultimately determines where you end up at the end of the season, and as has been shown by the electric front 3 of Liverpool, having a frontline that understands each other and plays in an unselfish, team-first manner is very vital to the success of the team.

Share your views in the comments section, on whom you would love for the club to bring in over the summer transfer window.

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