The reaction to the news that Vardy will not be coming to Arsenal has caused a typically over the top reaction from the media and from Arsenal social media. Those that wanted him never actually did and now are convinced he was never right for us and we should be aiming higher.
What is for certain is that Arsenal were played by Vardy and his agent. Whether this was their intention at outset by presenting the deal to Wenger or whether the initial intention was honourable and the player them had a change of heart is a moot point. I know what I believe but we are where we are and doomsayers are swiftly returning and telling us that there is no one left to buy in June, Morata is off to Chelsea, there is only Lukaku left to buy and Wenger has blown it again.
The reality is that Arsenal do need competition for Giroud with Welbeck injured and Walcott out of favour and yes Wenger has singularly failed to land an out and out striker for many years. It is well known that I would dearly love to see Alexis played as a striker in a two, as he is played by his country, but even if that was on the cards another Number 9 is required. Some may believe that Akpom is an answer but if so, the question has to be ‘which young striker is not ready to play regularly in our first team?’
One player that could present a solution is the Algerian striker who came to the fore at the last World Cup, Islam Slimani. The player has been linked to many Premier League clubs after a stellar season in Portugal with Sport Lisbon which saw him net 31 gaols in 46 outings, including 27 in 33 in the league. Sporting finished runners up to Benfica and Slimani only missed one match all season ans his clean injury record with what Arsenal have suffered wit Welbeck and others is a plus. His career record in Portugal over 2 season is better than a goal every other game and similarly for Algeria he has scored 23 in 43 caps.
He is tall, physical and good in the air but seemingly more mobile than Olivier Giroud. His hold up player may not be quite as good but his play on the shoulder of defender would offer more options to the likes of Ozil and his reactions to rebounds and lose balls in the six yard box is something Arsenal have lacked. Primarily left footed he is able to finish with either of his Nike Hypervenom Phinish boots as featured in this best of the boots at Euro 2016 article. The video here shows all his goals in 2015/16 and on the face of it what’s not to like?
The nagging doubt might be the strength of the Portuguese league outside the top 4 teams but equally many top strikers from that league have moved to Spain or Italy and succeed. Certainly the physicality of the Premier League would not concern him and he is extremely confident in his own ability.
Jorge Jesus the coach at Sporting has admitted in May that he would be powerless to prevent a wealthy club steal there star asset and the player is rumoured to be keen on a England move. At 27 the player although contracted to his present club until 2020 know that the next move is the most important of his career. It is suggested that the £24 million buyout clause inserted his last deal expires on the 30th June. This being the case and with no hindrance to access as with the Euro’s and some other potential targets, if Arsenal are keen this one will happen in the next week. If Talksport are correct Arsenal and Liverpool have both had £20 million bids rejected so the question is do Arsenal think Islam Salami is worth the extra £4 million?
I guess a fringe benefit to bring in Slimani would be that any approach this window on in the future for his international team mate Mahrez might gain a boost.
Until next time @Goonerdave66