Arsenal’s two losses prior to the international break have left supporters clamoring for more attacking, and with the January transfer session a little over a month away the Gunners will likely battle rival Liverpool for two highly coveted strikers.
Arsene Wenger’s side has scored 19 goals during Premier League play, better than a majority of the league, but their lack of scoring in the closing minutes on Nov. 9’s 2-1 shock loss to Swansea and losing a 3-0 lead to draw with Anderlecht in Champions League left plenty for Gunners supporters to desire.
Liverpool’s attack is in far worse condition, as manager Brendan Rodgers has seen his summer spending spree fall flat after high expectations. The Reds have totaled 14 goals and sit in 11th place on the table, and are struggling with Daniel Sturridge sidelined with an injury and no player stepping up for the now departed Luis Suarez.
With the Reds toiling away, its possible Rodgers will be more desperate, and thus try to outspend Wenger and Arsenal yet again.
According to Talk Sport, earlier this week Arsenal was linked to 28-year-old Marseille striker Andre-Pierre Gignac, a gifted and seasoned scorer who could provide a significant punch off the bench and late in matches that the Gunners require.
The Ligue 1 star has scored 48 goals over the last four years, but he’s out of contract this summer, leaving him ripe for transfer speculation and suitors across the globe. Arsenal not only must worry about Liverpool’s intentions, but also those of Russian squad Dynamo Moscow, Talk Sport reported. Dynamo signed Gignac’s former Marseille teammate Mathieu Valbuena over the summer, and hope to tap Gignac’s possible desire for a reunion.
Just how high the bidding might reach will likely be the main factor for any club chasing Gignac. His current market value sits at £7.9 million, though Marseille could be talked down considering they risk losing Gignac for nothing next summer. However Liverpool especially could push the price higher, since they are more desperate for scoring at this stage. There is also the question of whether Arsenal plans to pay Gignac’s transfer fee, and then sign him to a lucrative contract.
At 28, Gignac’s still in the heart of his prime but at best the Gunners would hold his rights for two or three more years. So a more long-term solution at striker could come in the form of Lazio’s Keita Balde Diao.
The Express reports the Italian side has already turned down several offers, but they are willing to let the 19-year-old go for roughly £24 million.
Previously, Diao started his youth career with Spanish giants Barcelona but wound up in Lazio’s youth system in 2011. He made his first-team debut in 2013, and Diao’s totaled five goals in 23 appearances since.
Diao’s quick feet and deft ball control might make him more of a set-up striker, capable of breaking down opposing back lines and clearing space for not only Arsenal's leading scorer Alexis Sanchez, but also Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck.
But again, Rodgers has reportedly sent out scouts to ascertain Diao’s play and value, leaving Wenger with a decision of whether to tussle with Merseyside for the young player or go with a known commodity like Gignac.
Arsenal supporters can judge for themselves who would be a better fit for the club by their highlight reels below.