Robin Van Persie has said that he won't sign a new contract for Arsenal because he disagrees with what he sees as a lack of progression. Arsenal will need to sell quick, so here are four strikers who Arsene Wenger may be tempted by, all of whom would be available for under the £20m mark.
Seydou Doumbia – CSKA Moscow – 23
Seydou Doumbia is in the form of his life. With 23 goals in 30 games in the Russian Premier League, the Ivorian has proved a handful for opposition defences. Not only is he quick and athletic, but he also has power and physicality in abundance. With the poor form of Marouane Chamakh, Arsenal are lacking an effective aerial threat up front. Doumbia would provide that. Arsene Wenger may be even more tempted by the fact he’d be able to link up with fellow Ivorian International Gervinho. The Russian League may not be notorious for its world class standards, yet his goal return of 29 in 41 has given CSKA every chance of qualifying for the Champions League again next season. Regardless of the league he plays in, he clearly is a natural goalscorer. A January move is unlikely due to his participation in the African Nations Cup, but should the worst happen and Van Persie leave Arsenal, Wenger may be tempted by the African forward. Whilst Doumbia is not of Van Persie’s quality – in fairness very few are – he would be a good addition to the Arsenal squad.
Leandro Damiao – Internacional – 22
Wenger’s record with Brazilians has been somewhat hit and miss. Gilberto Silva and Edu were vital cogs in the title winning Invincibles side in 04-05 but Denilson and Julio Baptista failed to live up to expectations while in North London. However, Leandro Damiao is a Brazilian whose samba flair could be welcomed with open arms at The Emirates. In terms of Brazilian football, Damiao is somewhat over-shadowed by the over-hyped Neymar, but under the radar, Damiao has consistently kept the level of his game high. With 14 goals in 28 appearences for Internacional, he helped fire them to a sixth placed finish in The Brasileirao. Arsenal would face competition for the forward from a number of Europe’s big names. At just 22, the technically gifted striker would be a great signing for a host of elite clubs and despite the young age he can already be considered a ‘Complete Forward’. With bags of pace, plenty of power and an eye for goal, Damiao would be a great replacement for Robin Van Persie and could lead The Gunners front line for years to come.
The ideal scenario would to bring in any of the above players whilst Van Persie stays, but whether Wenger will do that and whether anyone would be prepared to play second fiddle to the Dutchman, is another question
Roberto Soldado – Valencia – 26.
It’s been a stop-start career for Roberto Soldado. After failing to fulfil his promise as a youngster at Real Madrid, the striker was pushed down the pecking order at The Bernabeu as global superstars signed multi-million deals with the Spanish giants. His fantastic record as a Real Madrid B player wasn’t emulated whilst in the first team and in 2008, Soldado signed for Getafe. After two successful seasons with Getafe, he made a switch to Valencia in a €10m move. Since then, Soldado has repaid every penny in goals. With 9 goals in 15 games this season and 29 in 50 since his move, Soldado seems to finally be living up to his early potential. If his good form continues, it’s expected that he will lead the line for Spain at next summers European Championships, due to the injury to David Villa. Technically, he’s better than the other four players on this list. His movement is top class and he’s a big game player, as his brace against former side Real Madrid earlier this season showed. He’d be a pricier option, but at 26, the Spaniard has bags of experience and in Arsene Wenger’s new look side, he could thrive.
Luuk De Jong – FC Twente – 21
As Wenger’s record with Dutch players goes, it’s a pretty good one. His forages into the Dutch player market have seen him pluck out some of the best the Premier League has seen. Not only Robin Van Persie who is currently one of the worlds best players, but also flying winger Marc Overmars was played the best football of his career for Wenger. Given this record, may Arsene Wenger be tempted to delve into the Dutch market once again for one of Holland’s most wanted properties? Luuk De Jong has only emerged in recent seasons and is currently on fantastic form. 9 goals in 11 league games for FC Twente has seen his named linked with some of Europe’s elite. Despite being 21, he’s already made six senior appearances for the Netherlands, scoring a single goal. The youngster has bags of potential and his athleticism, work rate and technical ability make him a perfect fit for Arsenal. Despite Wenger’s recent signings being more experienced and proven, we know the Frenchman loves to nurture a young talent and make him a world beater. Could De Jong be the next jewel in his crown?
Robin Van Persie is a special talent and Arsene Wenger will be praying he holds onto his prized asset, but should he leave, Arsenal fans can live safe in the knowledge that quality replacements do exist. There are players who can come in and give Arsenal an extra dimension and really bolster the squad. The ideal scenario would to bring in any of the above players whilst Van Persie stays, but whether Wenger will do that and whether anyone would be prepared to play second fiddle to the Dutchman, is another question. Arsenal fans may worry that Wenger won’t make a big money, big name signing to replace his captain, but the names above show that big money isn’t necessary. Wenger is notoriously shrewd in the transfer market and signing any of the above would give further confirmation of that.
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