The chase of a world class striker was the obsession of every Arsenal fan this summer but it seems to have disappeared with the recent good results of the Gunners. Still, the top performances of Olivier Giroud are just making bigger the need of a good back up striker in case he gets injured. And everybody is okay to say that Nicklas Bendtner is a choice by default and he was probably not a part of the Wenger's plans. That being said, do Arsenal really need to buy a striker in January ?
The common sense will say that we obviously need to buy a striker this winter, but not really the kind of player we wanted to draw this summer, given the performances of Giroud. Furthermore, purchasing a world class goal scorer seems unlikely to happen during this transfer window and risky for the balance of the team. However, the winter mercato could permit to Arsenal to strengthen its squad and finally get a decent substitute upfront in order to realise the good season we are all dreaming of. So catching an affordable good striker in lack of game time would be welcomed if he could add a real value to the team. And that is where things get complicated.
With all the good midfielders Wenger has at his disposal, natural wingers will probably play a little bit less, in favour of versatile midfielders like Rosicky or Wilshere. Of course, players like Chamberlain, Ryo or Gnabry can fight for a spot on the wing but it will be hard to get. If we follow a scheme where wide attacking midfielders are less used at their native position, they will probably be used elsewhere, like as striker. We have already seen this strategy last year, when Podolski and Walcott have played at the front of the attack at a time when Giroud was still controversial. This season, wingers can aspire to play on a regular basis as 9, whenever Giroud needs to rest. Maybe, that is why Wenger has subtly notified in a recent interview that a player like Gnabry could also play striker.
But before to look elsewhere, don't forget that Arsene Wenger has got a striker this summer in the person of Yaya Sanogo. Currently injured, the Frenchman was supposed to be the main alternative as substitute striker. Bendtner is most likely to be sent back to the status of unwanted when Yaya Sanogo will be perfectly fit. If he undoubtedly needs to work, Sanogo has a plenty to offer on the field, and can really be a viable solution in the next months. A player like Chuba Akpom can also take a spot on the bench if he maintains his good performances with the Academy and multiplies first team appearances.
Clearly, the lack of world class striker is not as hurtful as planned with the great performances of Olivier Giroud. But for the moment, there is no real back up for him and things can get complicated if he is brought to stay on the sidelines for a while. When Sanogo, Walcott or Podolski will be back, the things will be easier to consider. The flexibility and the quality of the team do so that there is no real need at the front. This winter, Wenger will keep an eye on potential good catches but should not be focused on a striker, and he will be right to do so.