What Would Arsenal do Without Olivier Giroud?


There has been plenty of chatter for Arsenal to sign a second striker to back up Olivier Giroud and one day inherit the throne of the Frenchman. For me, and I know I’m not alone, Paulo Dybala appears to be the best option. But the problem with Dybala is that 30 million pounds is a lot to spend on a 21-year old who has never played English football.

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There are plenty of other links to guys like Edinson Cavani and Gonzalo Higuain, but those can be laughed at and disposed of.

The least considered solution is that Arsene Wenger already has the back-up striker option within the club. If that were the case, then the mantle falls to Yaya Sanogo or Chuba Akpom.

However, the snag with the ‘second striker’ mantle is that it has to be a striker that can spot the first striker a breather from time to time and carry the team in lesser matches without posing too much of a risk of dropping points. As it stands, I have more faith in Danny Welbeck to accomplish those tasks than I do Yaya Sanogo or Chuba Akpom, and that’s not me singing Danny Welbeck’s praises again, that’s me expressing my concern over what were to happen if Olivier Giroud were to be forced to miss time.

It’s a terrifying concept. Olivier Giroud was once laughed and scoffed at as a wardrobe and/or a lamp post (two insults that still crack me up), but now he’s become an absolutely indispensable part of this team, and without him, I legitimately fear for what would happen to Arsenal. His domination in the box coupled with his link-up play and chemistry with the other front men has become and irreplaceable part of this Arsenal winning streak.

The Gunners were without Giroud for the better part of the season, during which part we leaned almost entirely on Alexis Sanchez. That’s all well and good, until the Chilean inevitably runs low on fuel.

Giroud can play every week. He doesn’t exert himself to the point of needing breaks all too often, but the risk of injury is always prevalent, especially wearing the red of Arsenal.

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So where do our options lie for next season?

As mentioned, the internal solutions are Chuba Akpom and Yaya Sanogo, both of whom are out on loan and neither of whom have impressed on said loans as of yet. Akpom, 19, and Sanogo, 22, are still in the early phases of their careers, and both have had spells of first team action at Arsenal, but neither has really latched onto their opportunities and proven themselves – hence the loans.

I can see Sanogo going into the summer with a fresh slate and being given the chance to be the heir apparent to his countryman, particularly because we know how much Arsene Wenger favors his Frenchmen. But Sanogo hasn’t shown all that much in his time. WhoScored.com rather comically lists no strengths under his characteristics, while listing three weaknesses and one “very weak”-ness.

But that’s just a silly website, and I trust Arsene Wenger far more than I trust them, but what it proves is that he really hasn’t proven much in his time at Arsenal. There’s still time, and he’ll be given every opportunity in the world, but as it stands, he isn’t ready.

Chuba Akpom is only 19, so he still has more time to grow into the position. His brief stint at Arsenal provided no statistics, but he didn’t look like a complete bumbler on the ball.

The other internal option would have been Benik Afobe, whom Arsenal sold in January to Wolverhampton. It’s torturous to see his tally at 10 goals and four assists in 16 appearances, but we now have to do without.

The external options are linking every possible striker to Arsenal, from Edinson Cavani (the Evening Standard) and Gonzalo Higuain (the Telegraph) to Luiz Adriano (the Metro) and Paulo Dyabala (everyone, including the Metro). And external options may be the best solution, given the lack of any real sure-fire internal ones. But the problem there becomes getting Arsene Wenger to latch onto an external solution that he truly feels is the best possible scenario, and as we know from our months of sweating over our defensive staff – it’s never easy.

It’s not like Arsenal will completely unravel should Olivier Giroud succumb to an injury, which he’s not at all prone to anyway. We have plenty of weapons, but it’s not a risk we should be forced to take. Every major team in world football has at least two major strikers, some even have three. Arsenal have one (unless you want to count Alexis, but he’s better utilized elsewhere).

I’m not entirely sure if I expect Wenger to sign a striker this summer. He is very stubborn and set in his ways when it comes to finding the perfect signing before purchasing them. However, he has proven a lot of people wrong with his adaptability so far in 2015 and he could continue to do similar by forking out up to 30 million pounds on a striker to keep Arsenal’s momentum going.

The fact of the matter is, we need another striker option to back up Olivier Giroud for a worst-case scenario, which has often come to fall on Arsenal. This summer will answer all of our questions, or at least prolong the questions until winter.

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