Arsenal have big striker transfer issue that needs resolving

What is the goal for Arsenal in the January transfer window? The aim is to trim the wage bill further, which has been seen to already, and bring in vital quality in the quest for a top four spot in the Premier League.

If the club can secure the targets they’re after, ones they would normally have tried for in the summer were it not for circumstances this season to have changed, then they’ll do so. With sales, loans, absences and disciplinary issues causing unrest, January has suddenly become more serious.

Issues in midfield are causing action to be taken, yet the standout area of the pitch is at centre-forward. It’s here where Arsenal can transform the outlook of the team; move the needle more than anywhere else.

That desire, that need, has taken them to Dusan Vlahovic. Despite persistence to get the deal sorted and beat the rest of Europe to the punch, their efforts appear futile. The player wants to hold out until the summer to assess his options.

Arsenal have big striker transfer issue in January that needs resolving with Vlahovic, Isak, David and Calvert-Lewin all different profiles

Should Arsenal fail to land their man then the rest of the shortlist will be looked at: Alexander Isak, Jonathan David and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. This is a trio of strikers who would lift the quality in the No. 9 department. But there is one issue. One rather large issue.

They are nothing alike.

Vlahovic is, in every which way, a centre-forward. A bruising No. 9 who likes to attack the box, has a fierce shot, is tall and dominating and who can drop off to try and link play. Apart from scoring a hatful of goals this season, there are precious few comparisons to David, for example.

The Canadian is a typical false nine, very much of the Lacazette mould, who works best with another striker to bounce off.

As for Isak, he is an archetypal modern striker who can play on the shoulder and drift out wide to create new attacking angles, but he is technically astute option who loves to dribble and pick up different spaces. In terms of physicality he’s nowhere near the other two.

Links to Calvert-Lewin have got many supporters excited too, yet once again we’re looking at an entirely different profile of centre-forward. The Everton frontman is a focal point in attack whom others play off and aim for in the box.

While you can certainly piece together some similarities between the four, on the whole these are fundamentally different profiles – some more than others – that hint to a lack of clarity on the recruitment front. It’s evident Arsenal want Vlahovic, so if they fail to land him does that mean their next target, say David, will prompt a tactical rethink?

In terms of elite strikers out in Europe there are few who are attainable, or at least within price range. Having contingency options is essential, especially with the Vlahovic deal looking like a lost cause, so in looking for an explanation behind the different options it may just be that Arteta is willing to work around his new striker.

Or, perhaps, that he too doesn’t fully know what he wants. If that is the case, he best reassess.