With all the talk being of the inadequacies or otherwise of our manager, coaching staff, medical staff and of course of Theirry Henry this week I am back with ‘something completely different.’ In reality it is a lazy article as someone else has done half the work and most of the research but I hope it is all the more relevant for that.
At present Arsenal have 2 undoubted Premier League level central strikers in Giroud and Welbeck and I assume few Gunners would dispute that statement. Beneath this we have Walcott who would love the role but is unlikely to be given it on his own, Podolski an enigma who I am beyond fathoming and Sanogo who has the faith of the boss but few others. We also have Joel Campbell, who apart from for Costa Rica plays mainly on the right and Apkom who many have high hopes for but one suspects needs a loan for a season or from Jan to May at the very least.
In my view Wenger does not trust Podolski wholeheartedly and when he does play him would opt to do so wide where possible and he seems to have even less faith in Joel. Theo is due back as early as this weekend and whilst I have seen some question his Arsenal future in the medium term, in the short term he jumps ahead both and arguably ahead of Danny Welbeck.
For me Sanogo also needs to go only loan and while he may be resistant, convinced he has a role for us now, he could well be in the minority of one. This is admirable self belief which is unfounded at this stage perhaps. Lastly many fans are hanging their hopes on Apkom to leap frog Yaya and challenge sooner rather than later. I am not in this group and whilst I cannot claim to have watched him for hours as some have for the under 21s I do know Brentford season ticket holders whose opinion of him last season whilst on loan could hardly have been lower. Phrases such as ‘pampered schoolboy’ and ‘simply could not rough it with the big boys,’ would sum up the consensus.
So enough of me rambling on and to the point of this article. That is to revisit the progress of the player who along with Wilshere, was mapped out to be the next prodigal son. The question is whether, barring his appalling luck with injuries, it would have been Benik Afobe we were discussing as pushing Podolski, Campbell and Sanago for the fourth striker berth? I have followed Afobe along with his compadre, Aneke’s careers closely since both were subject to an approach from Barecelona as teenagers and were described by Steve Bould as 2 of the best players he had ever worked with. With Chuks departed without the breakthrough, that leaves me with Afobe who I first wrote about as early as December 2011 and more recently in January 2013 when he was on loan at Bolton. It would be fair to say my conversations with Bolton bloggers did not make good reading for Afobe or Afobe fans.
However nearly 2 years on, Afobe is 21 and the decision on his future for Arsenal will be made between now and the end of this season. His contract I believe is due to expire in June 2015 and the next deal is huge for this young talent, whether it is at the Emirates or elsewhere. If it is the latter I am fairly certain there will be a very long list of suitors based on his exploits so far in 2014/15.
For those of you not following his progress he has been on loan at League 1 MK Dons and it would be fair to say he has been a success in a side that do try and play the right way. The statistics alone are enough to renew any Gunners Interest but they alone are not enough. Continue reading