Arsenal need to find solutions up front.
Criticism of Alexandre Lacazette is at an all-time high, even more so than when he endured a barren goal-drought in the second half of last season. Arsenal are glaringly blunt and the need for a Plan B is painstakingly obvious.
While issues such as those facing Mikel Arteta and his team are not quite as elementary as a simple swap, a change of personnel in certain areas offering different qualities wouldn’t hurt.
Among the ailments to Arsenal’s issues is an injection of youth; and while Joe Willock, Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson are more commonly listed, recent signing Nikolaj Möller could be included in that troupe.
With a host of first team players away on international duty, the 18-year-old Swede has been involved in senior training at London Colney, a decision made by Arteta which appears based on merit as opposed to merely bulking up the numbers.
Möller joined from Malmö for £450k in October, wasting little time in impressing for Steve Bould‘s Under-23 side this season. Three goals and an assist in three Premier League 2 matches has caught Arteta’s eye, who’ll have received glowing reports from the former first team assistant boss on the striker’s impact.
As someone with a very close affiliation to Malmö – having lived there for 14 years – when the tag of ‘new Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘ comes to light, it must be uttered with the upmost of diligence. The legendary striker is a God in the city (controversial club investment aside), so anyone coming within a whisker of his immortality has to be well-thought of.
I’m not a fan of ‘the next’ what-have-you in football, but physically there are obvious comparisons to make. Standing at 6ft 4in, Möller boasts surprising technical ability, just as seen with Zlatan when he burst onto the scene at the very same club.
Training with Lacazette, Dani Ceballos, David Luiz and Willian, among others, will be a great experience for the teenager, but Arteta may well be having an eye on crafting his own Olivier Giroud-style option for future matches.
Arsenal have been flinging in crosses for fun with no obvious candidate of late, a futile approach when there is only a 5ft 9in forward to aim for.
It is, of course, very soon to judge. Möller’s promotion to first team is expected to be short-lived. However, as the Spaniard tinkers with his tactics and explores other avenues, seeing a player with a vastly differing skill set suggests a rethink in strategy is afoot. In the short-term, perhaps not, but if little changes after the break, that could be fast-tracked.