Arsenal’s defeat to Manchester United on Sunday again reinforced the Gunners’ lack of striking options, which is likely to see them enter the transfer market in January. Chasing in an equalizer at Old Trafford, Arsene Wenger’s only option for firepower from the bench to support Olivier Giroud was Nicklas Bendtner. The Dane, who revealed in an interview last week that he was disappointed when he was told over the summer that he would be staying at the club and that he is already preparing to leave the Emirates, made little impact and failed to get to an inviting cross in injury time.
Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski will return from injury to provide further alternatives, but neither have shown that they are up to the standard required playing through the middle. For now, the same can be said for 20-year-old Yaya Sanogo. Having failed to bring in an established striker in the summer, it is hard to think that he won’t try again when the transfer window reopens.
It seems increasingly unlikely that Arsenal will enjoy success if they return for summer-target Luis Suarez. Liverpool’s resolve not to sell the Uruguayan to a Premier League rival will not have diminished, while the Daily Mirror believes that Arsenal fear that Real Madrid are primed with a £50 million offer.
Instead, the Mirror claims that Arsenal are “closing in” on Madrid’s current striker, Karim Benzema, with a £22 million deal likely to go ahead in January if Suarez moves to the Bernabeu. The France international is said to have been further endorsed by former teammate Mesut Ozil.
Still, it would be surprise were a deal to happen in January. After a difficult start to the season, Benzema has begun to hit form, forming a lethal attacking trio with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. And, from Arsenal’s point of view, they would be spending big money on a player who would be cup-tied for the Champions League, should they make the next round.
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A similar problem would exist should Arsenal go back to try and secure a deal for Chelsea’s Demba Ba. The Gunners failed with a loan move for the Senegalese striker over the summer and the Daily Star claims that Arsenal could make a £15 million bid in January. Such a prospect is difficult to fathom. Ba will turn 29 next May and in his time at Stamford Bridge has shown that he does not quite have the quality required for teams of Chelsea’s and Arsenal’s purported ambitions.
The Daily Mirror believes that Arsenal are also interested in Southampton forward Jay Rodriguez. The 24-year-old’s form in Southampton’s fine start to the season has led to the former Burnley man earning his first call-up to the England squad for two upcoming friendlies. According to the Mirror, Liverpool are lining up Rodriguez as a potential replacement for Suarez, but Arsenal are also thought to be keen.
While he played centrally with Burnley, scoring 36 goals in his final two seasons with the Championship club, he has operated primarily on the left since joining Southampton for £7 million.