Arsenal stayed firmly in the hunt for the Premier League title with a 1-0 victory over Tottenham on Sunday, but concerns will remain about the team’s lack of firepower up front. Tomas Rosicky came up with the decisive strike at White Hart Lane to continue the reliance on midfielders to provide the goals.
Olivier Giroud’s fine start to the season has faded, with a combination of fatigue and off-field distractions likely a cause, and the France international has just five goals in his last 15 league appearances. With Yaya Sanogo yet to score in six outings for the club, the failure to sign a striker either last summer or in the January transfer window could yet prove costly.
Arsenal’s need to add to their forward ranks at the end of the season could yet be exacerbated. The Daily Mail has reported that Giroud met with Turkish agent Muzzi Ozcan, who has previously brokered deals for Galatasaray, last week. However, Giroud’s agent Mickael Manuello said the meeting was purely for commercial purposes. Still that story has been followed by one from The Sun, which quotes a source as saying that Giroud’s wife has agreed to take him back, after the much-publicized allegations of his infidelity, on the condition that the couple leaves London and England.
It remains to be seen whether there is anything of substance behind either report. What does seem certain is that Arsene Wenger will be looking to recruit at least one striker in the summer, potentially even to supplant Giroud in the starting lineup.
In January, Wenger strongly pursued Schalke’s Julian Draxler, with the reported idea of converting the young attacking midfielder into a striker. Arsenal’s move fell flat when they failed to match the €45 million (£37.7m) buyout clause in the 20-year-old’s contract. While the Gunners’ interest is thought to remain, Schalke’s asking price is unlikely to alter, while competition for the Germany international will surely increase if he plays a starring role in the World Cup this summer. The Daily Star has claimed that interest is already building from elsewhere, with Manchester United said to have scouted him in Schalke’s 2-1 victory over Augsburg on Friday.
Also linked with Arsenal of late has been Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic. The Croatia international’s future has been the subject of much speculation since it was announced that Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski would be joining Bayern at the end of the season. Were Mandzukic to leave the Allianz Arena there will doubtless be a battle for his signature. Italian publication Tuttosport has claimed that Juventus have joined Arsenal and Real Madrid in tracking the 27-year-old, who is said could cost as much as €30 million (£25.1m).
Elsewhere, the Daily Mirror believes that Wenger is keen to bolster his defensive options with a move for young Freiburg center-back Matthias Ginter. Arsenal’s chief scout, Steve Rowley, is said to have watched the 20-year-old in action in his side’s 4-1 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday. Rated at £8 million, Ginter made his debut for Germany in this month’s friendly with Chile and has also made several appearances for his club in midfield this season. Manchester United are also thought to be interested.