LLorente, Henry or A Another – A New Striker, buy or loan in January?

LLorente in happier times

There is much talk at present of Arsenal signing another top level striker in The January transfer window, particularly with Gervinho who has been playing centrally off to the AFCON. Fan concerns about cover or competition for Olivier Giroud, with Gervinho absence are understandably exacerbated by the rumoured departure of Chamakh and the unsigned contract of a certain Theo Walcott. Add to this the season long loan decisions for Benik Afobe and Joel Campbell, with no secondary attempt at a work permit application, and there is no doubt that we could be light in attack, particularly if injury strikes. 

One could argue that Podolski can play centrally as cover for Giroud and by Christmas we will have Tomas Rosicky as well as Oxlade -Chamberlain, and the recently utilised Ramsey all able to play wide. For me however it has been obvious for whatever reason Lukas is far happier on the left working industriously and linking play, whilst being able to join the attack a later stage. He is not as comfortable with his back to goal or being permanently around the penalty area.

Not so efefctive centrally

All the above therefore does strongly suggest Wenger will move into the market for an attacking player in the next window and he has apparently been quoted showing an interest in Llorente. I have expressed my doubts on this likelihood before although I have no inside track and it is a personal view.  I have not seen a huge amount of Fernando but I do know that the majority of his goals last season where scored against lesser teams in La Liga. In addition when the big players should come to the fore, namely for Bilbao in the Spanish Cup Final and the Europa League Final he failed to show.

Again I have no special knowledge about his contract dispute with Althetic Bilbao but I do know that in 8 Europa and La Liga games this season he had started NONE.  He has come on in all 8 but has only scored the once. I also know that in from March to May last season in which he netted 17 times in the league he managed only 2. Would Bilbao truly not play Llorente, if he was in top form, just over a non-signing of a contract? Wenger played Nasri and is playing Walcott?  No of course not, as it a run deeper than that and it is fairly unsavoury from what I can gather. Marcelo Bielsa, the Bilbao manager is using him sparingly because he is sulking after Juventus failing to meet a 36 million Euro buy out fee and only last week the player stormed out of training. This was on Basque TV so is not a rumour and Bielsa had this to say afterwards:

“At training on Monday, I told him to leave before it had finished,” Bielsa said. “I decided that his behaviour was not as desired and he should not continue. Fernando thought he was giving his all and he let me know that. I understood that he could have given more. I am not saying it was desired, but these things happen in football. The public character (of the row) meant it was given more importance.”

Would Wenger wish to pay more than he has ever paid for a player who quite obviously has a hugely high opinion of himself and is in dispute with the club that made him?  Yes he has scored over 20 goals in all competitions 3 seasons in a row but it seems a risk for a player with an attitude, particularly when he has just signed Olivier Giroud, who is a very similar player without absolutely now attitude, a superb work ethic who has integrated so will into the group? This observer has an extremely high opinion of Giroud and feels he needs a long run as the central striker in our formation. If he gets this run I am convinced he will deliver 20 plus goals. Let us not forget that our previous centre forward played all 38 league games in 2011/12.

Confidence high now he should stay in team

 

However I am not saying that Arsenal do not need to strengthen because should Giroud get injured our only obvious cover, accepting Podolski, who I feel is not comfortable there, whilst Gervinho absent, is Theo if he signs or Chuka Akpom. Now as talented as the 17 old may appear to be I am sure we all agree this would be an ocean of a deep end to throw him in.

So the next real question we have to ask because we know that money if not at all an issue is does Wenger want to buy or loan. Now I know many readers will say sod it we have the cash so buy and but big. I am not in that camp but that will not surprise regular readers. However the key questions are as follows:

–       Will Theo sign and if so will Wenger trust him centrally?

–       What are Wenger’s views on Afobe and Campbell? Because if he has faith in one or both a new signing when both will be with us in 2013 might be unwarranted.

–       Will Wenger buy if he feels it is just cover for AFCON and intends to continue with the Ivorian as cover centre forward?

–       Will Chamakh definitely be sold in January?

 

I won’t claim to know all or any of the answers, but by now we do all know Wenger to some degree and how his mind works. So in consideration of the above there are a few things we can observe or contend. Wenger last season resisted a purchase in January whilst Gervinho was absent and instead took Thierry Henry on loan. A decision that proved a good one, both team spirit wise, and on the pitch. I am not convinced Wenger will do the same, although I would not rule it out, but we have a precedent. Henry is a year older and I feel another 6 weeks in the EPL might be a bridge too far even for ‘the King.’

Return of the King II??

I am convinced that one of or both of Campbell and Afobe will make the grade and we know that Steve Bould rates Benik as amongst the best he has coached whilst at Arsenal. This for me throws more damp water on the idea of a big name signing on a long term deal.

I do feel that Chamakh will be sold though and whilst in some sense I will not be sorry to see him go I would sincerely wish him the very best. He is a good player as he proved at outset but he is in a team that does not play to his face to goal style. He needs to play in a pair and I hope he succeeds back at Bordeaux or wherever he ends up.

One other observation I will make based on knowledge of Wenger in recent seasons and this is indisputable: If he does not feel the need to buy to cover short term absence of injury he is happy to loan. Moreover he is very comfortable seeking solutions from the ex Gunner fraternity. We have seen not only Campbell, Lehman and Henry return to play but Pires return to train with the first team squad.

You may think I am heading for a conclusion that suggests we go for Henry again and don’t buy, but I am not actually, although a loan of a former striker is my idea. This idea has take shape over a few weeks of research but I was convinced enough to venture a speculative blog on Tuesday. With the absence of the England game I watched the whole of Croatia v Wales instead and guess who stood out and scored whilst Jelavic watched from the bench. Yes the ex Gunner in question was none other than Eduardo da Silva.

Before half of you scream he is past it and never got his form back and the other half call me a sentimental old fool please hear me out with a few facts and arguments in favour, but first let’s recall the message he personally sent to all Gooners after he left for Arsenal.com:

 

Dudu or Don’t won’t?

 

You have to love this guy:

“Before I start a new chapter in my career with Shakhtar Donetsk, I just wanted to send a message to all my friends at Arsenal.

“The past few days have been very emotional for me. Although I am excited about the challenge ahead with my new club Shakhtar Donetsk, I am so sad to be leaving my home for the past three years – Arsenal Football Club.

“Arsenal is a very special football club and I will miss so many people – my team mates, all the staff and of course, the wonderful Arsenal supporters.

“I would just like to thank everyone for your support during my time at Arsenal. When I first came to England, I could not speak the language and knew nobody, but as soon as I arrived I was made to feel at home and part of this big family. Also, I want to say thank you to the Arsenal supporters – you have been fantastic to me and always sung my name and I will never forget this.

“I had some very difficult times with my injury, but Arsenal was always there for me – the medical staff, the management, the players and the supporters. Thank you everybody.

“Although I have now left the Club, Arsenal will always be in my heart. I will always look for the Arsenal results and of course, I wish Arsène Wenger and the great players at the Club well for next season and the future.”

 

The Background

–       Eduardo left Arsenal in my view primarily because in his absence through long-term injury and rehabilitation Wenger changed from 442 to the current system. ‘Dudu’ was never likely to return to his best being played on the wing.

–       In his first season at Shaktar he scored twice against Arsenal in the ECL. The reaction to his goal at the Emirates was like nothing I have experienced. A standing ovation for an opposition player, who of course had refused to celebrate.

Standing ovation

[youtube.com/watch?v=rk_2eKLHD6A 100% 250]

–       He has failed to secure a regular staring place consistently with the Ukranian Champions but in the first 2 seasons  he still managed a better than a goals every third game hitting the net 19 times in 55 matches.

–       Despite not always starting he is loved by the fans in Donetsk and has consistently been selected still for Croatia. In the 16 internationals he has played in since leaving the Emirates he has started only 6 BUT still scored 6 international goals.

–       For Croatia his adopted nation he now has a 50% goal ratio which puts him in the elite of world football, not just present day but historically. He has 26 goals in 52 caps. This ratio is way ahead of the likes of Rooney, RVP and most others on the international scene and for a cxountry that is appearing at most major finals

–       As recently as August he was given the honour of captaining his country on the occasion of his 50th cap. Eduardo led the team out in a friendly against Switzerland. Sadly Croatia lost the game 4-2 but not before Eduardo marked the occasion with 2 goals. The second a late consolation header, but the first one of the finest goals you will see. Enjoy it for yourself and ponder whether this is the technique and finish of a player who is no longer able to perform in the top echelons.

[youtube.com/watch?v=iceWoJv3Qeg 100% 250]

–       The signing of Marko Devic and the form of Luis Adriano and Willian seem to have given Shaktar a settled front 3 so Eduardo despite having scored consistently when played for 2 seasons has been limited to 3 substitute outings this season. The good news here is that he has not featured in either of his club’s Champion’s league outings with Chelsea up next. So is not cup-tied.

–       Eduardo was heavily linked with a £7 million move to Fulham towards the end of the transfer window as a replacement for Dempsey. Interestingly when Asked Dudu played down the rumour but not the idea of EPL interest:

–       “No-one else has contacted me or asked for an opinion,” Eduardo told Sportske Novosti. “You know how it goes with transfers. I learned that even at Dinamo (Zagreb). Someone asks the club about me, that club then gets mentioned and immediately it’s a done deal. Of course it’s nice to hear that I’m mentioned in England, especially if there’s Premier League interest.”

What Gooner if honest would not wish to see this again?

So there you have it from me. I am not convinced we will sign a striker on a permanent deal, but if we do I do believe it will be from Spain. I am not convinced either that it will be LLorente or Lopez and I do think Wenger has another target in mind , who I will profile in the near future perhaps, (crystal ball time.)  In the short term however I see a huge amount of sense in bringing Eduardo back to North London on loan to the end of this season and I am sure his club would be amenable. He is used to making and impact from the bench and would not expect to start games. He would be a perfect understudy to Giroud and I am certain he could teach the Frenchman a trick or do as well. He will support the OG and not undermine him and this crucial stage of his transition to regular EPL football In addition of course like Henry he will be returning to a club he loves and that loves him and he would cause no disruption to the current harmony and togetherness the squad has built, which from my perspective is crucial.

Very keen to hear your views which I am sure will be mixed but in the meantime just enjoy his spectacular come back goal in the FA Cup against Burnley and his epic second against Everton just before his horrific leg break. Thanks to @ScottyDavisAFC for our chat the other night in which we convinced each other this idea was not totally crazy and for reminding me of the Everton goal!

Burnley – Thanks to the old energetic AA23 for keeping the ball in play

[youtube.com/watch?v=Uqgvvble_qk 100% 250]

 

Everton winner 28th Jan 2008  and flying pushing us toward title, just 26 days before horror break:

[youtube.com/watch?v=ljDt7zA22hc 100% 250]

 

Until next time thanks for reading.

Like what you read? Agree/disagree? Leave a comment below or follow me or comment on this blog on Twitter – http://twitter.com/goonerdave66

 

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43 comments

  1. Can only say what a load of bollox. You really have no clue. Wasted time for reading this shit. Thx.

  2. I would love to see Eduardo back at Arsenal. He would be a perfect super-sub, why not sign him permanently??

  3. Point number 1. First commenter, nobody made you read it, take some responsibility for your own actions.

    Point number 2. Great blog as ever Dave! Personally I think Adrian Lopez is the one but this at least made me think. Eduardo never did get it back but it’s true that he can still score when he needs to, so maybe bringing him back WOULD be a decent idea. Dunno though, maybe it would be best to loan him along with signing another player. Proper depth in attack that way 🙂

  4. I personally feel this is a very good idea!! it will cost us far less money than buying a new striker, and Eduardo is amazing! I love to read this blog .. great stuff.. I hope Wenger gets to hear about this idea. He really should buy into this.

  5. Well wrote piece but i’m sorry but i don’t agree at all with your reasoning , as nice a guy as Dudu is , he’s last season for us was very very ordinary and thats being kind , the assault in Birmingham finished him as a player sadly , and i just don’t see us going back for him , but what about Ba , a proven and cheap goalscorer …

    1. Paul it was ordinary because he did not get any opportunity to play centrally. You do not score a goal every 3rd game for club and country mostly from bench my being ordinary. I would rather Ba then Llorente but he also throws toys out as soon as he is not starting and OG will be first choice

  6. Thanks Dave, I heard Frank Mcclintock on the radio the other morning he thinks AW should not buy in January. So maybe your suggestion of a loan is not out there at all. I always liked Dudu & felt his leaving AFC was premature. I wouldn’t complain if he came back on loan.

  7. There is something that troubles me or rather doesn’t quiet sit right when people say that we will sign a big name striker in Jan. Its very unlike Wenger to actually spend money on someone who will not be a regular. And to my mind we’ve spent decent money on Giroud.
    As you say Walcott’s situation might dictate our stance, here again to my mind Theo’s as good as gone. Go on surprise me Theo – “Sign Da Ting”
    If Wenger keeps faith in the emerging talent of Afobe & Campbell then it rules out signing of a young player. Come to think of it a loan move does make sense and I would love Eduardo in our colours again.
    Whatever happens looking forward to some exciting times ahead

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  9. What a great idea. I didn’t take a lot of convincing as it makes so much sense. However, I would like to see Theo signed before worrying about recruiting.

  10. I love the idea of Dudu back to The Arsenal and I believe it could work. He is one of the best natural finisher who ever played in the PL!

    PS! Arsenal4ever: Hahaha… You are kidding right? If not you have obviously never read anything @Goonerdave66 has written on this blog before?

    1. Why feel the need to be so offensive mate? We are all Gooners. If you were familiar with my blog it would be clear that I am far from an AKB but I will support him and the team as he is the manager. I just write blogs as a hobby and they are just considered opinions, usually well researched. I am not asking you to agree or anyone for that matter and am happy for all feedback but insults not necessary really are they?

      1. sorry dave wasnt meant to you personally. Never wanted offending you but your suggestions of Henry and Dudu on loan drived me mad. Was a bit harsh I agree.

      2. cant believe you rate Zaha so highly. He is a poor mans Neymar and not worth the money they want.

  11. good thinking,and why not…
    and lets not forget,if poor dudu hadnt got injured,i’m convinced that title was ours,so he’s got unfinished business,
    he’s got a love for our great club,
    he’s got a hell of an eye for goal,
    and judging by the frst comment – he has a point to proove..
    i’d go for it mainly because it wouldn’t impede Giroud, i really wanna see him lead our line…

  12. LLorente has scored this season. Get your facts right. He came off the bench at halftime and scored with his first touch in the second half to spark a comeback. I forget against which team, though.

  13. Not sure.But what I am sure about is that it was a good read and also that arsenal4ever if a rude and ungrateful prick.

      1. Dont tell me ,you are a “Wenger out,AFC not PLC ” man? or boy more likely.
        Oh,ad so you understand I will add “LOl” to make you feel at home.

  14. we have a squad of 32 first team players. in my opinion 22 of those are set in stone which leaves 5 fabianski squillaci arshavin chamakh and frimpong. plus the 5 that are already on loan ryo park denilson campbell and bendtner. come january only if some of the 22 are unavailable or leaving will wenger look to re-inforce. for example if szcesney gibbs wilshire diaby rosicky fail to recover from long term injuries or walcott djourou or santos move on only then do i think wenger will bring in more players. if the likes of fabianski squillaci arshavin or chamakh are sold i expect them to be replaced with the likes of martinez miquel eisfeld gnabry as they are only fringe players so they can be replaced with younger fringe players. i think as it stands we have what wenger is always looking for (2 players for each position)
    szcesney/mannone
    sagna/jenkinson
    mertesacker/djourou
    vermaelen/koscielny
    gibbs/santos
    arteta/coquelin
    wilshire/diaby
    Walcott/ramsey
    cazorla/rosicky
    podolski/chamberlain
    giroud/gervinho

    if any of those are unavailable he has
    fabianski/martinez/shea/charles-cook/iliev
    angha/bellerin
    squillaci/hajrovic/hayden
    miquel/monteiro
    meade/bhimoutine
    frimpong/yennaris/wynter
    ebicilio/toral/jebb
    gnabry/rees/lipman
    eisfeld/olsson/ansah
    arshavin/neita
    chamakh/akpom

  15. Good read…not entirely sure Eduardo would be up to the job though. I don’t know how fit Henry is compared to last season but he’d be my choice. If either were to come in then an advantage is they would both settle in very quickly, which is the most important thing as a January signing

  16. Very enjoyable read Dave, we also had a recent discussion via twitter on a new striker heading to Arsenal. I personally think it is almost certain if Arsene can get his target. If he cannot get the player he wants then he will leave as is.

    I agree and disagree with parts of your article, hear me out,

    Firstly absolutely agree with you on Giroud. Already looks a wonderful player, has fantastic attitude and will continue to improve. I have no idea if we are seriously interested in Llorente but you would imagine that he is almost certain to leave in January and it will not be for whatever ridiculous buy-out clause he has in his contract. He is not even starting games because of disagreements with their management.

    I don’t think that would be any reason for Arsene to not show any interest. Remember Wiltord’s stance at Bordeaux before he joined us. He went on strike to get his move to us. Also, I am not aware that he has been any trouble in the past to other managers. His current fall out doesn’t necessarily mean that he is a bad egg.

    There has been an argument about Giroud and Llorente being too similar and I would agree that they are in style but could that be a positive rather than a negative?

    Having build a system around our current players, and partnerships being formed, should anything happen to Giroud on the injury front or indeed form then wouldn’t it be sensible to have a similar player to slot straight into the side?

    Look, I am not the Llorente fan club, in fact I haven’t seen a great deal of him in truth. A few games last season along with highlights but he is a regular Spanish squad member (not recently due to lack of pitch time I assume) and given the fact that he can walk away for free in the summer, it just feels like a deal that Arsene and Ivan would love to get their hands on.

    Now onto Eduardo before I tuck myself into bed.

    I love the guy, what Arsenal fan doesn’t. A truly breathtaking finisher, a player that we did not get to see the best out of because of Taylor and Birmingham City.

    The thing is, you mentioned the exact reason why he left the club. Nothing has changed on that front. Robin van Persie (as usual) picked up an injury at a crucial time and Arsene turned to Eduardo. It was away from home, tough ground but cannot remember who it was against now. He was lost in our 4-2-3-1 system, much in the way that Podolski was against Sunderland this season. Just like Podolski, Wenger turned to someone else in the next game. Arsene clearly thinks that Dudu doesn’t have the qualities needed to play as a central striker in our system. Same with Vela it seemed.

    Arshavin was moved as the center forward and often Eduardo was playing on the wing.

    So basically, my point is this. If Eduardo was to sign on loan then it would be to replace Gervinho rather than competition for Giroud.

    The type of player I would like to see at Arsenal is an actual striker version of Gervinho. A natural composed finisher with speed and technique. They do not grow on tree’s but I felt we have missed that since Henry left for Barcelona.

    Anyway, this response was long enough for a bloody blog of my own. Keep up the great work fella.

  17. January,February and March are very decisive months and we need a striker who can hit the ground running and give us a springboard on the run in. Some one who can fill in for Gervinho whilst he`s away or substitute for Giroud and keep the rythmn flowing. Some one who is familar with the way we play and is a crowd pleaser. Some one who won`t break the bank or become a financial liabilty…..Answer? You work it out.!!!!! 60466

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  19. Have always felt a Jan signing should be able to hit the ground running as there’s less room for errors then…so dudu makes sense in theory (haven’t seen him play at all recently)..I’d still like us to try for Chicharito…he’s 4th choice at united so would be cheap and is an excellent poacher (a better version of dudu for me)

  20. Could not agree more. I always loved Dudu . I did feel if only Wenger had shown the same faith he had in Rosicky , Dudu would have come good eventually . I had tears in my eyes when he scored against us and loved the reception Arsenal fans gave him . Would love to see Dudu in red and white again.

  21. I think he will make do with Shava or maybe bring benders back he has said he thinks they have a part to play and I still think Theo will get his chance up front when Gerv goes off.

  22. Great idea Dave, really thrilled, then again I always am when I see a new piece to read in your blog. Eduardo is very much loved at emirates and he loves arsenal equally. A loan deal even if Theo signs the contract is ideal for us and him. We can benefit from his clinical finishing and clever play after coming on as substitute or in some cases he may start the games as well. So he is better back-up than chamakh. And for him, he can hopefully rediscover his starting berth at Shakhter and Croatian national team.

    One thing I cant stop writing myself though, who forced arsenal4ever (yes the man commenting first in this atricle) to read this blog if he find it useless. Man, if u dont like the idea, stop reading. Arsenal football club is meant to be victory through harmony. If u write such comments in one of the best arsenal blogs, then consider changing your name.

    Thanks again Dave, this is a real master piece!

  23. Thanks to you all for some excellent comments and feedback. More in favour than not but was is clear is just exactly how popular Eduardo was as a Gunner. I honestly feel he could still perform at EPL level or I would not have written the piece and I did consider it long and hard. I even spoke with a Croatian Gooner first.

    Thanks
    Dave

  24. Dave! Very nice article again because it provides us with some food for thought. And so, I will share my own with you!

    Will take some flack for this, but assuming Morocco didn’t qualify for AFCON (can’t remember), can we rule Chamakh out as cover for Giroud for a month or so? Yes, we probably can. But I have to say, and its just my opinion, that it looked to me Giroud scored a very “Chamakh-type” goal at West Ham (if we even know what a “Chamakh-type” goal is).

    Secondly, I love Eduardo and he is a proven goal-scorer. So I wouldn’t mind seeing him back at the club as a back-up. The only thing that worries me though, is that we’d be bringing Eduardo back to the club as a back-up. We are a massive club, do we really have to resort to bringing back (all be it decent) strikers to the club? Players, it must be said, that are not really in the prime of their careers. I understand it would only be for a month or so, and he’d do a great job (especially based on the reasons you have provided), but it still worries me that it has become “normal” for us to accept that we will not fill that striking role with something more long-term, or potentially more exciting. Its not like we’re spoilt for choice upfront at the moment.

    Only my opinion.

  25. Very interesting blog, as usual. I just want to add a few thoughts on Chamakh. We all know it hasn’t worked out for him at Arsenal but I think we should be careful not to rewrite history too much. It’s easy to forget that a lot of us were impressed by him when he had his first run in the side on the back of an excellent season in Bordeaux – much the same situation as Giroud finds himself in now, in fact. The two major differences between them, of course, was the looming presence of a certain Dutch traitor returning from injury, but just as importantly – and more of an overlooked factor – Chamakh was never given the chance to tailor his game to our system.

    He played 4-2-3-1 at Bordeaux, very successfully in Ligue 1 and into the quarters of the Champions League but I was always struck how he was unable to adapt to the false nine role in our 4-3-3 system last season. Even during his successful spell, his runs were always lateral into the channels and he played as much with his back to goal as facing it instead of dropping deep towards the centre-circle and timing his runs forward. Giroud has been luckier to arrive after we’ve changed the system, so hasn’t had to make the same adjustment, risking the same catastrophic loss of confidence.

    Giroud is obviously the better player but if I was a manager of a rival team who also played 4-2-3-1 I would be seriously tempted to pick up a bargain on the cheap. When Wenger loses patience with a player, it’s hard to see a way back for him and of course, I have no idea about his attitude, off-field problems etc, but from a footballing point of view he can still be a good player at the top level. Whether it can be for us, though, I have my doubts.

  26. The only down side to this article is that a certain so-called arsenal4ever had to comment 1st, dude whether you apologised or not your comment was senseless and reeked of indecency………Dave thanks for giving us another name to think about and Eduardo is a worthy buy anyday whether on loan or a perm deal

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