Arsenal Have Strikers- But Which Ones Do We Keep?
The club currently has five international strikers plus two more forwards who will be more comfortable playing as a striker. Is it time we re-assessed our strike force and attacking midfielders and played players in their rightful positions?
Carlos Vela will develop into a good striker, whether he becomes a scoring sensation in the Premier League is questionable. What is certain is that he has not answered any questions this season as he spent most of it on the bench. Next season is vital for Carlos Vela and a season long loan spell with West Ham will be ideal.
Eduardo is turning into a legend at the Emirates, partly out of what little we saw of him last season, but also in great part because of his injury. He came back this season and scored in the FA Cup, but as with all players who have been out injured, his comeback was blighted by further niggling injuries. Eduardo is definitely a player to keep as he is a goal scorer, a natural finisher, something that we lack at the club.
Niklas Bendtner is still young and learning the trade. His early exposure to international football and his loan spell at Birmingham have resulted in him wanting to play more and more. His overall play is better than Adebayor, his willingness to run for the cause, harass defenders and his link-up play is second to none. What Bendtner lacks is the killer instinct in front of goal. He is not blessed with speed, so he will not outrun any defenders, but he needs to learn to use his physique to bully defenders. Bendtner is probably two seasons away from being the finished article. If he is prepared to play a similar role to this season, then he is a player to keep.
Emanuel Adebayor is the most frustrating striker at the club. He joined from Monaco where he was not a regular, had an indifferent start to his career until last season. Then he took off and we were wondering is this a one season wonder or have we stumbled across something special? Well this season’s form has shown us that it was a one season wonder; worse, he has stopped running and everything he does looks half-hearted. Adebayor got his pay increase and like Kanu before him, he has stopped playing. At this moment, there are very few supporters that want him to stay. Any offer in the regions of £15 million should be accepted.
Andrei Arshavin has come in and has shown us real class. He has been playing out wide on the left which is not his favoured position. The Russian prefers to play behind the main striker. From what we have seen this season, he could be the new Bergkamp. He has the vision, the imagination and will in a full season get 10-15 goals. Wenger needs to look at Arshavin with a view to playing him behind the main striker; he will bring other players into the game and be more effective in this role.
Robin van Persie has always promised to produce the goods and this has been his most productive season. During our bleak winter, he either scored or created every goal. The goals have dried up for van Persie in recent weeks, and that is no surprise since we started playing 4-2-3-1. Van Persie is not suited to playing on the wing nor is he suited to playing as the sole striker. The added complication is that Robin has not yet singed a new contract. If Wenger persists with a 4-2-3-1 formation, then I do not see any place for van Persie at the club and Wenger might wish to sell him.
Theo Walcott is still learning the trade. Wenger has opted to use his speed on the wing, but within the next two or three seasons, Theo will move upfront. His speed is electric, what he lacks is the strength but he will develop into a top striker.
What Wenger needs to sort out in his own mind is what formation do we play next season and who are the personnel best suited to this formation. He also needs to establish, and this will take a season, as to whether the likes of Vela, Bendtner and Walcott will become top international strikers.