I said I would not write about transfers until it was relevant and crucially I believed that Wenger would wait to assess the impact of the returning duo of Walcott and Podolski. Whilst the jury remains well and truly out on Podolski as a key member of the squad I think most have made up their mind that he cannot play the Giroud role. Reluctantly I am beginning to agree although I am still firmly of the belief that as the left-sided attacking midfielder he should have an influential role to play between now and May. Walcott’s return has been more emphatic with a rush of goals, assist and particularly against Cardiff some intelligent runs and vastly improved crossing.
Despite the almost guaranteed goal contribution from Theo over the second half of the season most Arsenal supporters would want Wenger to enter the market this month for a new striker to support Olivier Giroud. I have no need to retread the well worn road of discussing what the talismanic Frenchman brings to our team and the way we play. Suffice to say I rate him highly and personally feel it unlikely that Wenger would look to try and find a superior model in January. Particularly when we have a fully focused, according to Le Boss, Nico Bentdner back in the fold.
So that leaves a few possibilities. One is that he goes all out for a top player like Costa or Martinez who perhaps can play the target man role as well as Olivier but offer more of a cool demeanor in front of goal. Is that likely in this notoriously tricky window? I think it less likely than option two which is to buy a direct cover for Giroud and combine this with investment in the future. The trird option of course id the one the the press are highlighting is a short term experienced option like Berbatov which would be more than out of character for Wenger.
If that is the preferred route for Wenger surely he might dip into the Championship as he did for Walcott, Ramsey and even lower for Ox. The unfashionable name I would throw into the ring is that of Danny Ings, currently banging in the goals for high flying Burnley. Before dismissing me as certifiable let me make a few observations and perhaps tell you a few things you may not have known:
– My son was at Bournemouth when Ings was given his pro-contract and there was a belief in the Youth set up that he was destined for greater things.
– Eddie Howe who ran the youth set up before being promoted at Bournemouth took him straight to Burnley when he moved there are manager.
– In his first season in the first team with the Cherries I was watching Sky Soccer Saturday when the pundits were covering League 1 as it was an FA Cup weekend and Matt Le Tissier was drooling over Ings performance and suggested he was one to watch.
– Celtic, Leeds and now Southampton and Liverpool are all being heavily linked with a swoop for the player this month.
– Gareth Southgate has been very impressed and he is now part of the England U21 set up, scoring 2 on his debut recently. Great article on this in the Mail. Southgate – “ Danny has got bags of confidence and he is a player that we want to have a closer look at. He has adapted well in things that I have seen from him so far. I should expect that we will be seeing him a lot more.”
– The last 2 England U21 strikers of note Welbeck and Sturridge are top flight and England regulars.
– Ings had to be patient due to injury last season and the form of Charlie Austin but since Austin moved to QPR he has hit 18 in 27 appearances this season.
– He has power, far more pace than Giroud and has scored a huge variety of goals. He can hold the ball up well but also gives the midfield and ball over the top option.
– His form won him the Championship Player of the Month in October.
– His salary is very low and we could treble it and he would be the lowest paid member of our squad by some distance. This would be a similar deal to that we offered Ox initially.
– At the end of this season he has only 1 year left on his current deal so Burnley know he will leave then.
– He is a bloody nice chap! – Picture here give his boots to a disabled fan after the last game of last season.
– Here is a superb compilation of is contribution to Burnley surge toward the Premiership as well as a few from last season as well
– For the record he is no flat track bully with a huge chunk of his goals coming against fellow promotion rivals, including Reading, Blackpool. Leicester, Berby, Forest and delightfully 2 in beating at the time undefeated Rednapp’s QPR.
Of course it would be a gamble but a non expensive calculated one and let me just one question. Can a player step up from the Championship and make an immediate impact in the Premier League?
Here’s some assistance while you think on it!
Ask Sheffield Wednesday fans if they thought Ross Barclay would be nailed on for the World Cup and being linked with a huge money move to United, as he toiled with them in a Championship relegation battle last season.
Ask Peterborough fans who lost their relegation battle in the Championship if they thought loanee Saido Berahino, Ings U21 team mate, would be scoring for WBA regularly in the EPL 6 months later?
Ask Birmingham supporters if they believed last season, as he learned his first team trade for them at the bottom of the Championship, that Ravel Morrison would be spoken of as a potential England star this term?
While you are at it do you still want to ask Ricky Lambert, after his 15 goals, 5 assists and his international call up he he can make the transition?
Perhaps whilst at St Mary’s double check if Adam Lallana felt he managed the big step up to the EPL last season?
Whilst I am on a roll. lastly and most pertinently ask Jay Rodriguez if after banging in 21 for Burnley, as a team mate of a young Ings in 2011/12 if his 9 goals for Saints last season and his 8 so far and the England call up where a fluke?
Well there you go it will probably never happen, but I hope you found the idea a pleasant diversion from the standard unimaginative and frankly mostly completely fabricated transfer stories in the press. Having said that when I suggested an unknown French chap called Olivier Giroud in November 2011 no one had heard of him!
Incidentally Ings is, as I write 2-1 to move to Southampton – Lambert anyone???? Haha
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