Arsenal’s striker lineup for next season is the source of fresh speculation, with several big names being linked with a summer transfer. It is widely predicted that manager Arsene Wenger will bring in a forward, with his squad devoid of reliable alternatives to Olivier Giroud this campaign. Nicklas Bendtner and Yaya Sanogo have scored just two goals between them in all competitions.
In a new twist, though, latest rumors suggest that Giroud could be on his way out. The Daily Mail claims that Atletico Madrid are looking at Giroud as a possible replacement for Diego Costa, who is expected to depart the Primera Division leaders in the off season.
Giroud has certainly had his difficulties both on and off the pitch in the second half of the season. He was disciplined and earned much scrutiny for an off-field indiscretion in February, while his goals also dried up after a strong start to his second season since joining from Ligue 1 side Montpellier. While possibly not the top level striker Arsenal require to get them to the next level and lacking the pace to get the best out of club record signing Mesut Ozil, it would still be a major surprise were Arsenal to let him go.
Instead, a new striker is likely to vie with and offer a complimentary alternative to Giroud. One of the names that Wenger would appear to be tracking is Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette. Reports in France have long suggested that both Arsenal and Liverpool are after the 22-year-old who has scored 21 goals this campaign. Lacazette made his first, and thus far only, appearances for France in last summer’s friendlies with Uruguay and Brazil. He has now suggested that he would welcome a move to the Premier League.
“I'm tempted to try and experience life abroad," he said according to The Sun. “Are Arsenal and Liverpool interested? An experience in another major league fascinates me.”
A much more experienced France striker continues to be linked with a move to the Emirates. It was widely reported that Arsenal were keen to land Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema last summer. At that point there looked a reasonable chance that the former Lyon front man could be moving on, having had a difficult start to the season, even being jeered by his own club’s fans.
But Benzema has gone on to enjoy arguably his best season in the Spanish capital to date, netting 24 goals and forming part of a devastating front line alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. Still, reports continue that Madrid want Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and the Daily Mail believes that the club are prepared to listen to offers for Benzema this summer, with Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain all interested.
The Mail is also of the belief that Arsenal are continuing to consider a transfer for Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic. The Croatia international’s future was put under scrutiny by Bayern’s signing of Robert Lewandowski for next season, although Bayern have repeatedly insisted they want Mandzukic to stay at the Allianz Arena. If it becomes clear that Mandzukic will have to play second fiddle to Lewandowski, however, the 27-year-old may have a different view on the matter.