The capitulation of Arsenal over the business end of the season is not a new phenomenon, but it is one that, in its consistency, has made every football fan with a half a brain an expert on exactly what Arsenal need to do to have a chance of winning any one of the competitions they perennially light up before their beautiful passing game spontaneously combusts under pressure. Yet although they desperately need a dominate centre-half, a world class keeper and a destroyer in midfield, they also lack pace and, apart from RVP, quality up front.
Bendtner and Chamakh, depute their respective merits, are simply not up to it. Bendtner is mobile and runs the channels well, but also appears to have the football intelligence of a ripe melon and Chamakh, lauded as the physical striker who would add a new dimension to their play, only really appears physical when compared with his Lilliputian teammates.
Papiss Demba Cissé, the SC Freiburg striker who is currently 6th in the race for the European Golden Shoe (why shoe and not boot?), boasts strength, pace, dribbling ability and an eye for the spectacular. His 22 league goals make up over half of his side's total and he has seven goals in eight appearances for Senegal.
Alongside Liverpool, City, Chelsea and United will all strengthen over the summer and, unless Wenger gets his act together, the previously unthinkable prospect of Arsenal being pushed out of the top four could well become reality.
It might be gilding the lily a bit to compare anyone to Thierry Henry, yet its worth remembering that he was a wasteful left-winger with a penchant for behaving like a 12-year-old and spooning left-footed crosses out of the Stadio Delle Alpi when Arsene Wenger signed him. Cissé might be raw, but he has blossomed in the last two seasons and can score screamers and headers alike, as this recent double away to Hamburg shows.
Although Arsenal fans probably don’t want the club to take a punt on any player at present, the options for Arsene Wenger to buy a world-class striker are few and far between. No Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea or Man United striker would consider leaving for Arsenal and neither can you imagine the big beasts of European penalty boxes swapping Munich, Madrid, Barcelona or Milan to wear the red and white.
Arsenal desperately need a striker who will stretch teams with his pace and bully defenders with his strength. They need a forward who will provide an outlet for the ball-playing midfielders and someone who just wants to score goals, rather than create. Cisse is that player. He would dovetail incredibly well with RVP, is a constant menace for defenders in the way he switches between the channels and the central area and relishes the physical side. Arsenal don’t need any more intelligent footballers, they need some who are black and white in their approach to the game.
£12.5 million has been spoken of as a likely fee for the self-confessed Liverpool fan, and with Dalglish and Commoli looking to add players in every position except right-back Wenger needs to go cap in hand to Stan Kroenke to ensure he gets his business done early to get fans on side before the new season starts. Alongside Liverpool, City, Chelsea and United will all strengthen over the summer and, unless Wenger gets his act together, the previously unthinkable prospect of Arsenal being pushed out of the top four could well become reality.
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