The prognosis for Olivier Giroud and thus Arsenal’s forward options do not look good. While the results of a scan on an ankle injury Giroud suffered against Everton on Saturday have not yet been made official, strong reports claim that the ankle is fractured and that the France international will miss at least three months and could well be out of action until 2015. Less than a week before the close of the transfer window, manager Arsène Wenger now has a big decision to make.
Like last season when Arsenal relied on the fitness of Giroud to carry them through the whole campaign, Giroud is the only center-forward of his type to have proven himself at the top level in the Arsenal squad. Yaya Sanogo offers a similar physical presence, but, though a year more advanced in his development, remains extremely raw and has yet to score a competitive goal for the club.
There are different options at Wenger’s disposal this time around. Big summer signing Alexis Sánchez, despite possessing the natural attributes of a winger, has proven himself as a central forward with Chile. The first half against Everton, however, showed that it will take time for him and his teammates to adjust to each other in that role. Joel Campbell, who can play wide or central, provides a further alternative. And then there is Lukas Podolski. The World Cup winner, who has been ineffective in his limited appearances through the middle for Arsenal, was reportedly on his way out of the club but now looks set to stay in the wake of Giroud’s injury. Certainly Wenger believes he is well provided for up front.
“We have plenty of players at center forward. In England as soon as you have a problem, people want you to buy,'' he said, reports ESPN. “Unfortunately, I can give you some clubs that every time they lose a game they say they might need to buy more.
“We are 24 hours from a big game [against Beşiktaş] and our focus is more on that than the transfer window. I've learnt one thing in our job - you say nothing categorically.'”
Given Wenger’s track-record, it would be a surprise were he to make a permanent signing due to Giroud’s injury. Over the years the Arsenal boss has repeatedly talked about finding in-house solutions to problems rather than simply splashing the cash. There is much speculation, though, that suggests this time will be different and Wenger will look to the transfer market, with these four players being linked with a move to help fill the void.
Danny Welbeck (Manchester United)
The England forward is said to have been told that he can leave Manchester United, reports that manager Louis van Gaal failed to deny. Speculation now suggests that Arsenal could be interested in a £16 million move. Welbeck would offer versatility as well as strength and pace, but he has yet to prove he can supply clinical finishing on a consistent basis. And there seems little chance of United agreeing to sell a player to a club which they will see as rivals for a Champions League place.
Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain)
Having expressed his frustration at being deployed in a wide position for much of his first season in the French capital, there was plenty of talk that Cavani would quickly be on the move. As recently as this week, Arsenal have been linked with a £50 million transfer for the Uruguay forward. For a number of reasons, it is difficult to see such a deal come to fruition. Cavani now seems more settled in Paris and is currently needed in his favored role following an injury to Zlatan Ibrahimović. It would also be a massive leap for Wenger to go from being happy with his forward options to breaking the club’s transfer record because of one injury.
Radamel Falcao (Monaco)
Falcao is rumored to be another forward to have moved to Ligue 1 last summer and now be less than happy. Following talk of Liverpool’s interest earlier this month, it is now being reported that the Colombian goal-scorer would consider a loan move to Arsenal for the rest of the season in a deal that could fetch Monaco £20 million. However, with Real Madrid now having banked the money from the sale of Ángel di María to Manchester United, if Falcao is to go anywhere, then the Bernabeu looks his likely destination.
Loic Remy (Queens Park Rangers)
Of the forwards they’ve been linked with, there is little doubt that a deal for Remy would be the simplest to complete. It is well known that the France international has a buyout clause allowing him to join a Champions League club for £8.5 million. Indeed, Liverpool triggered it earlier this summer before pulling out of the transfer at the last minute. Whatever problems prevented that deal could also be a problem for Arsenal, though, while the slight, speedy forward would not be a like-for-like replacement for Giroud.