As news filtered through from a few random media outlets in Italy that Juventus had entered the fray in relation to the purchase of a certain Gonzalo Higuain, I found myself talking with Giles about the very real prospect of us leaving it until the last minute, then going out and buying a Loic Remyesque striker.
What I meant by that was simply that we would not look at elite level strikers, just ‘make do’ strikers who can alternate with Giroud as attacking options. Jamie Vardy was in that bracket. He has a different skill set, therefore could be a different type of option, to be used when Giroud isn’t working or when the opposition dictates that pace and channel running would be more effective than a target man.
If you look back at my blogs during that time we initially found out about Vardy, you’ll see a “huh. Well, not exactly awe-inspiring, but at least it’s a different option” kind of thought process. But I was never really that excited. Perhaps it’s because I’ve seen more of him than Icardi, or Janssen, or Lacazette, which is why I’m less excited about him than I was of one of those three signing for Arsenal. But the more I think about the players we are linked with, the more I wonder whether whatever happens, we are going to get an alternative to Giroud rather than an upgrade.
Perhaps we all just need to accept that as fact. After all, how many ‘elite’players are there available right now? My interpretation of ‘elite’ by the way is finished article, proven with plenty of goals, doing it in the Premier League and has done it in the Champions League too, ideally. So to me, players like Messi and Ronaldo are obvious, as is Bale, Suarez and Neymar, but none are attainable. Then you’re looking at Higuain, Benzema, Cavani, Aubameyang, Aguero, Lewandowski, Ibrahimovic (yes, I know he’s old and the league wasn’t great, but you can’t really argue his pedigree I don’t think), potentially Benzema and Griezmann. That’s pretty much all I can think of. So from that list, how many could Arsenal realistically get now? What I mean by that is the clubs they play for might sell, plus we can afford it, which we know we can with our cash reserves. So you’re talking what, Higuain, Aubameyang and Benzema?
So I find myself in a bit of a quandary. I want Arsenal to get an elite striker, but there are only realistically three that I think they could go for, which really does narrow your talent pool and inevitably mean the price hits a sky-high price.
So what’s next? Go for a player of similar effectiveness as Giroud, but with different attributes? And who is that? Icardi? He’s at Inter and is fishing for a new deal, so as much as I think he’d be a good signing, the guy would clearly Vardy is so he can secure a pay rise with his current employer. Then you’re looking at either signing somebody who was in the goals in a lesser league – Slimani, Jonas from Benfica, De Jong from PSV (who had an uneventful spell at Newcastle two seasons ago), or somebody who has scored goals in a better league but perhaps not as many, like Aduriz at Bilbao, or Bacca at AC Milan. I don’t know about you, but none of those names would have us going crazy-excited, would they?
But here’s the thing – I don’t think the signing we make, if we make one – will be one of Higuain, Benzema or Aubameyang, so they won’t have a big reputation and therefore the player will inevitably be a punt. I think that’s where we’re at here folks, which will be getting a player from another league that’s lesser known, but who has a goal scoring pedigree. To me everything points towards an Eduardo-style signing, which will have a lower fee compared to what’s being discussed at the moment, but will be a gamble because they haven’t done it in one of the top three leagues in Europe.
So I guess what I’m saying here is that I’m starting to accept myself that we once again won’t be going all out to get that big name, big reputation and likely big goalscorer, but instead need to have a player in the mound like Giroud, who will have to prove that they’re decent enough at Arsenal over a period of seasons. Then, we’ll have to hope that Arsène/the youth set up, can find us a RvP style youngster who will come in and grow in to the teams main man over four years or so.
That’s pretty much all I got for today’s ramble. Hopefully it made some sense. I do tend to go off on random, structureless monologues, so I do sometimes read back over what I’ve written and marvel at how an early morning brain dump can have such incoherent babbling about it! But, oh well….
Catch y’all tomorrow!