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Where there’s smoke: Arsenal to bid for Carlos Bacca?

They might step in and steal him from West Ham

United States v Columbia: Third Place - Copa America Centenario
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Search For Striking Help rolls on. Today’s rumor? Arsenal will step in at the last minute to hijack West Ham’s bid for Carlos Bacca, the Colombian striker currently with AC Milan, according to the Evening Standard. Their technical term is “gazump”, a wonderfully English term that originated in the housing market and makes no sense, but basically means “step in at the last minute and outbid”, because of course it does.

Anyway! Who is Carlos Bacca? As mentioned, he’s Colombian; there are enough good Colombian players in MLS that I, at least, view that as a pretty big positive. He’s 29, which isn’t great, but what he does bring is a different playing style to what Arsenal currently offer going forward.

Arsenal fans of a certain vintage will remember Francis Jeffers’ tag as the “fox in the box” that Arsene was looking for in the early 00’s; he didn’t really work out that way, but Arsene has always seemed to value that in a striker for some reason. And Bacca is most definitely that - he’s not much of a creator and definitely needs a very good midfield behind him. And guess what? Arsenal have one!

He’s also pretty much the dictionary definition of “poacher” - 51 of his last 52 goals have come from inside the penalty area.

I don’t think anyone would view Carlos Bacca as a long term solution or as a new direction for Arsenal - but if he can provide some relief while Giroud is on a scoreless streak, and if Özil can ping balls off him and into the net, this could be a very interesting pickup indeed.

The Standard is a pretty decent source most times, but as with anything, I’d still take this with a fairly large grain of salt, particularly as Atletico Madrid are also interested. That said, I’m intrigued by Carlos Bacca, and if getting him weakens another London team, so much the better.