In the space of a few seconds in the dying minutes against Cardiff City, Nicklas Bendtner went from reinforcing Arsene Wenger’s claims that there is no urgent need for a new striker at the Emirates to bringing home the perilous situation caused by their lack of depth up front.
Bendtner scored the crucial opening goal in the win that kept the Gunners top of the Premier League on New Year’s Day, but his injury suffered in doing so again leaves his side short of numbers in attack. With Olivier Giroud already ruled, although close to a return, Bendtner is set to miss several weeks of action. Lukas Podolski again looked less than suited to the role of striker when starting against Cardiff, as Theo Walcott often did when thrust into the role last season.
Wenger played down talk that Bendtner’s injury would lead to Arsenal dipping into the transfer market.
“It doesn’t mean we go straight from Nicklas’ ankle straight to the transfer market,” he said, according to Arsenal’s official website. “It means that we have Giroud and Bendtner out.”
Yet, the latest development could well convince Wenger that, with a first Premier League title in a decade a real possibility, it would be wise to dip into the club’s coffers and recruit another attacking option.
With the very best players hard to come by in midseason, Wenger may have to be creative with his targets. The latest man linked with a move to the Emirates, Dimitar Berbatov fits that bill. The Fulham forward’s agent recently claimed that his client is looking for a move away from Craven Cottage.
And, with Berbatov having just six months to run on his contract, The Sun claims that Arsenal could secure the services of the former Manchester United man for just £2 million.
According to Metro, Arsenal also have their eyes on a current Manchester United striker in Javier Hernandez. The 25-year-old has struggled for playing time this season under David Moyes, making just four starts in the Premier League. With the World Cup approaching and his place in the Mexico side not as secure as it once was, it would not be a surprise were Hernandez having conflicting thoughts about his future.
Metro believes that Arsenal could offer £15 million to try and prize him away from Old Trafford. However, with Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie currently struggling with injuries, it is difficult to see United being willing to part with Hernandez in January.
Hernandez would also be cup-tied for the Champions League were he to move to Arsenal, a problem that would also exist should the Gunners temporarily secure the services of Alvaro Morata.
The young Real Madrid forward has previously been linked with a loan move to the Emirates, before the Spanish giants quashed any chance of the move being allowed to happen. According to the Daily Telegraph, however, Arsenal have not given up hope of landing the 21-year-old, despite Madrid’s stance.
Yet, with Madrid relying on Morata to support Karim Benzema and unlikely to splash out on a new striker in January, Arsenal look set to be disappointed.
The Telegraph also asserts that Arsenal are continuing to trail Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa. The Brazilian-born forward, who has declared that he will play for Spain, has struck 19 goals in 17 La Liga appearances this season and has reportedly been scouted by the Gunners for much of the campaign.
The fact that Costa has a release clause of around £32 million in his contract means that Atletico could have no say in their leading man’s departure. Yet there seems little reason for the 25-year-old to leave Atletico, given that they currently only trail Barcelona at the top of La Liga on goal difference and are through to the last 16 of the Champions League.