Arsenal: A solution for every possible striker situation this summer

Arsenal, Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Photo by Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images)
Arsenal, Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Photo by Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images) /
5 of 5
Arsenal, Eddie Nketiah
Arsenal, Eddie Nketiah (Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images) /

Aubameyang and Lacazette go, Nketiah stays

As much as I would hate to see them go, this is the best case scenario. If we manage to sell both of our aging frontmen, we would have a plethora of options, and a much larger transfer kitty. There are three different ways we can take their sales.

The first option is to replace both of them with two new signings, something I wouldn’t necessarily want to see. If that is the route our club takes, then any combination of the names above would suffice our purposes, and that would be the end of it.

However, if we do sell both, putting our trust in the options currently available would be the best possible scenario. That being, trust Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli at left wing, and sign one striker to compete with Eddie Nketiah. That option allows us to dream a little bit bigger.

Kai Havertz reenters the frame, and while it’s a stretch, the German would be the perfect replacement, capable of uniting the Gunners frontline and leading the attack from a false-9 role, an out-and-out striker, or a dynamic playmaker, given free reign and the freedom to both create and score. But if we’re planning on staying here on Planet Earth, look no further than Moussa Dembélé.

The Frenchman has it all. Although he’s already become a bit of a journeyman—from Fulham to Celtic to Lyon in the past four seasons—there is no better striker currently available in world football to center a rebuild around. He combines the high intensity of the Premier League with the grit and dedication of the SPFL, and the free-flowing flair of France. He also cements a number of productive connections—Celtic and Lyon—that have been profitable for Arsenal in recent years, just as an added bonus.

Dembele has 23 goals and 7 assists on the season, which, if he wore the Arsenal colors, would place him second in goals and third in assists in the Arsenal squad. That type of productivity, even with the likely decrease that will come with a transition to the Premier League, is hard to find anywhere. He’s the type of player we wanted in Alexandre Lacazette, but Dembele is more than just the next Lacazette.

Related Story. 5 impressive Bundesliga transfer targets. light

Besides being a half-decade younger, he’s just so consistent. Since 2015, he’s had goal-scoring seasons of 17, 32, 16, 23, and 22. That’s amazing production for an array of high-quality teams. He’s proven himself at every level, and is ready to take that next big step, to lead a line and truly prove his world-beating potential correct.

The 24-year-old can literally do everything. He’s strong, on and off the ball, and he has a ridiculous range of finishing—while he’s right-footed, he’s also adept at finding the corners with his left, not to mention his head, and he can literally score from any scenario. Turning a defender, meeting a cross, running in behind, attacking spaces and gaps, and releasing absolute howitzers from distance are all in his locker. He’s quick, both over short distances and long sprints.

He plays like a combination of Raul Jimenez and Jamie Vardy, and it’s honestly amazing to watch. He can drop deeper, receive the ball with his back to goal, or dart in behind to slot a finish past the keeper. His cool composure is the greatest part of his game; he literally is not phased by anything. Plus, he has a standing connection with Kieran Tierney—and the Scot had nothing but good things to say about him. 

"He is brilliant, Moussa I remember one game where I fired a ball up to him and he took it on the chest and made a terrible ball from me look so simple. It actually finished up making me look good. Having somebody like that in your team is brilliant."

He’d be an expensive signing at £65-70 million, but if we do want to throw all of our eggs into one basket, Moussa Dembele is that basket.

However, that’s not the only option. Arsenal might also opt to buy a striker to replace Lacazette, and a winger to replace Aubameyang. If that’s the route they do take, the way is once again clear. Dembele will be too expensive to purchase another player, unless Said Benrahma is the future of the club, which I don’t believe he is.

More from Pain in the Arsenal

The man up front should be Luka Jovic. The forgotten Real Madrid man likely doesn’t have a future at the Santiago Bernabeu, and if he’s looking for a place to move on, the Emirates is the perfect spot. Considering Los Blancos are willing to sell, we should buy. He has the physical profile, explosive acceleration, and above all skill to be incredibly successful in the Premier League.

Jovic at his best—as he was in his final year at Frankfurt—is a force to be reckoned with. He’s an amazing combination player, who specializes in one-twos, dummy runs, and layoffs. In other words, he’s an ideal replacement for Alexandre Lacazette in possession. While he doesn’t have Aubameyang’s top-end speed, he’s very quick, and his finishing is just as good, if not better. He also has an eye for a key pass, which will work very well in Mikel Arteta’s system.

He’s a threat on the counter-attack as well as in possession, and his term at Frankfurt was characterized by excellent reading of attacking situations, explosive runs behind the defense, and powerful finishes. It’s a killer combination, and would fit Arsenal’s needs to a tee.

The Serbian’s statistics this year don’t even come close to showing what type of player he is. 2 goals and 2 assists in 25 games is poor, but he’s only played 770 minutes of football this year, and of those 25 appearances, he’s started in 8. In contrast, his Frankfurt record is a glowing 27 goals and 7 assists in 48 matches and over 3000 minutes of play. He’s prolific when relied upon, and allowed to maintain match sharpness and good condition.

In addition, he has been fined for a series of disciplinary issues recently, having broken travel restrictions to spend time with his family in Serbia during the coronavirus pandemic. He is in a similar situation to Aubameyang when we signed him from Dortmund—talented, but unwanted. Now is the time to pounce.

Best of all, his price tag has dropped significantly. While his market value has been reported as low as £20 million, I understand £35-40 million would be a far more appropriate asking fee, and that Real Madrid are looking to raise funds this summer. A purchase of that value would leave room for a winger as well.

And Marcus Thuram is not signed, that winger should be Moussa Diaby of Bayer Leverkusen. I’ve written about him before, and I have become even more convinced of his abilities since then. The young Frenchman has a one-second-he’s-there, ground-blistering speed that I would call unheralded, if it weren’t for Wolves’ own Adama Traore.

Like the Spaniard, his ability to surge past a defender with his first step and leave them in the dust with his second has made him an almost unstoppable threat, but that’s where the comparison ends. While not as powerful as Traore, he is technically better, and does not sacrifice skill for speed, a potent combination, and his crosses are a sight to behold; he rarely misses his target in the box.

He clocked 7 goals and 8 assists over 37 games this season, in just under 3000 minutes of football. The young winger became a mainstay of Peter Bosz’s electric Leverkusen side, proving his worth time and time again. He does still have to work on the end product, but the pieces are clear to see. And at just 21, he has so much room to grow.

Next. Must-sells list getting shorter. dark

There’s no easy solution for Arsenal at the striker position. The club is so reliant on our current strikeforce that preparing for the future is as uncomfortable as it is difficult. But time is not on our side, and so replacements must be lined up, for as cheap as possible. They’re hard to come by, but a good striker can change the fortunes of a club. Arsenal needs to focus on buying a new striker (or two), and fast.