In their search for a striker, Arsenal have been linked with a myriad of strikers. Andrea Belotti, though, is not one of them. The reason for that is damning for Olivier Giroud.
It was fairly clear last summer that Arsene Wenger wanted to find a replacement for Olivier Giroud as his leading centre-forward. He started his striking endeavours by making a bid for Jamie Vardy, then proceeded to pursue Alexandre Lacazette, before eventually settling for Lucas Perez, who unfortunately struggled in his first season at Arsenal thanks to a mistrust of the manager and a few niggling injuries at key periods of the campaign.
While Wenger was unable to secure the starring striker that he wanted – this was proved by his use of Alexis Sanchez at centre-forward throughout the season, as well as his willingness to start Danny Welbeck in the role to close out the year – his hand was revealed: Giroud was no longer good enough to be the figurehead of the Arsenal attack.
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Giroud himself did enjoy his best season since making the switch to North London. In a bit-part role where he was continually in and out of the starting line-up, often relegated to the bench before being quickly turned to if the game went sour, the towering Frenchman scored 12 Premier League goals, as well as maintaining a mightily impressive 0.9 goals per 90 minutes ratio, bettered by only Gabriel Jesus, Harry Kane and Michy Batshuayi of players who featured in more than 20 games in the Premier League.
However, it is his statistics that is preventing Wenger from continuing with him as the Gunners’ primary centre-forward. Rather, it is the options that he creates, or more accurately, the options that he doesn’t create, for those around him, that is driving Wenger to find a replacement.
It is also that reason that is determining the nature of such a replacement. That is why Arsenal are not being linked with Andrea Belotti of Torino, but are being touted as a possible destination for Kylian Mbappe, Alexandre Lacazette or even Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Belotti, while a more talented player than Giroud, is built in the same mould: big, strong, powerful, dominant in the air, excels with his back to goal. But that is not the type of striker that Wenger wants.
Wenger has realised, rightly, that the make-up of his squad requires a quick centre-forward, someone who is willing to run into the channels, stretch the pitch relentlessly, pull defenders out of position with their mobility and dynamism. That is not Giroud and it is not Belotti.
It is Lacazette. It is Mbappe. It is Aubameyang. The lack of reports surrounding Arsenal and Belotti are not just because his price is too steep. They are also because Wenger is looking for a very specific type of striker, and it is damning for his current starter.