Rumoured Arsenal striker targets by Aidan
Manager Roberto Mancini on Icardi:
“He can be one of the top strikers around for the next 10 years.”
“Mauro is 23 years old, if he puts in maximum effort and concentration he can grow. He’s doing that. Every day he takes a step forward like anyone who is serious about their work.
“He’s always scored goals and will continue to because it’s his best quality” …. “but he knows that he must also improve his participation in the build-up and his movement. A classic striker is about more than just scoring goals, and there are certain facets of his game he can improve, but he’s working on it.”
Speculated transfer fee, a very affordable £20-25 million- this seems a conservative estimate, I think it would be more.
A great goalscorer & finisher. Despite 3 years spent as a youngster with Barcelona’s La Masia youth training, his hold up play & passing isn’t as much of a strength as Giroud- he’s primarily a finisher but will chip in with an occasional assist. With Ozil in the team serving up golden chances, perhaps a lethal finisher would be a good option.
There has been some suspect off-field decision making; none more so than a reported betrayal of former Sampdoria teammate Maxi Lopez, eventually ending up marrying his ex-wife- but to be fair- he’s a good looking bloke & those Milanese and Argentinian babes must be tempting.
This guy is the most interesting character on this list- IMO. With dual French & Argentinian nationality, he appeared to have it all- built strong and also technically gifted- a European & South American hybrid. However, after his big move to Real Madrid just days after his 19th birthday- the River Plate prodigy only bagged two goals in his first season. He developed and improved as seasons went by- producing several respectable goal returns, but never reached Galactico status. Karim Benzema was brought in and ultimately preferred, relegating Higuain to second-fiddle. At international level too, he was a subordinate- the football demi-god that is Lionel Messi was the leading man, with a fantastic supporting cast including Sergio Aguero, Ezequiel Lavezzi & Carlos Tevez- also vying for a place. Higuain knew he had bags of ability, but there always seemed to be a superior player around. He moved to Napoli for a fee of 38 million Euros that smashed their club record, on a salary of 5.5 million Euros a year. There was talk of him emulating the impact of 80s Napoli star- countryman Diego Maradona, another football demi-god. Rather than thrive under the pressure, it seemed to get to him- his name became synonymous with high profile cock-ups- a real life Roy Munson. He had the best chance of the 2014 World Cup final but skewed pathetically wide. On the last day of the 2014/2015 season- Napoli faced Lazio; he had scored two goals to make it 2-2 when Napoli were awarded a penalty, he smashed it over the bar- Lazio won 4-2 and Napoli failed to make the Champions League. Argentina then made a run to the Copa America final where they faced Chile & our own Alexis Sanchez, Higuain again missed his penalty as Chile won the shootout. Later that summer in Ibiza a fan approached Higuain filming. Higuain said he was on holiday just trying to relax- the fan snapped “you can’t even score penalties!” leading to an angry exchange where he shouted “delete the video or I’ll rip your head off”. He was clearly frustrated by criticism and in a troubled place.
Rafa Benitez left Napoli for Real Madrid last summer, the inexperienced Maurizio Sarri was appointed the new Napoli manager. Benitez once described Higuain as like “a hungry lion in a cage”. In their first meeting, Sarri said “You’re too lazy. If you don’t change your attitude, you won’t become the best centre forward in the world.” He went on to make public statements like “If Higuaín doesn’t win the Ballon d’Or in the future, he’s a d**khead.” This new approach, free of all ego-massage or coddling worked a miracle. Higuain has broken the Serie A record for goals in a season- finding the net 36 times from 35 starts. The lion is uncaged. I like the cut of this Sarri guy’s jib.
This season’s Higuain would be a welcome addition to any team. That is the main obstacle in us signing him- there would be big competition from the plastic clubs and the fee and salary needed would be huge. If Icardi offers little in terms of hold up play and passing- Higuain is even more of the archetypal pure-form striker; goals is all he’d bring really, but potentially by the bucketload. He’d probably have five shots each match, and he’d probably score one of them.
Morata is rumoured to be available due to a 30M Euro by back clause Real Madrid inserted into his sale to Juventus, allowing them to buy him back and potentially sell him on for a profit. He seems to have the potential to be a complete all round striker, with impressive hold up play, pace and quick feet. His goalscoring record is not particularly impressive and that would be the key area he needs to improve on. He has time on his side. Despite this weakness, he seems to have a flair for the big occasion- scoring the decisive goal in the Italian Cup final with his first touch yesterday- for example. He also scored in both legs of the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid in 2014/15, and netted in defeat in the final against Barcelona. Reportedly, Chelsea are also interested- their new manager is of course Antonio Conte who has been managing him at Juventus. This existing relationship may work against us, or it could perhaps work for us as Conte often preferred Dybala and Mandzukic to Morata in his Juventus side this season.
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang
After Lewandowski’s final match for Dortmund, the Champions League final vs new club Bayern Munich- Dortmund needed a striker. Aubameyang came in for 13M Euro after roughly a 1 in 2 goalscoring record in his final 2 seasons for St Etienne. The signing wasn’t viewed as marquee, this was a player who’d failed to make the grade at AC Milan- he arrived to inauspicious fanfare. His first season was disappointing; his hold-up play, passing, decision making and even his finishing seemed pretty poor as he finished on an unspectacular 13 goals from 32 matches. Despite being genetically gifted as an obvious natural athlete, the footballing brain didn’t seem to be there. He was often shifted out on the wing (a la Walcott). Aubameyang however- applied himself & worked tirelessly and made great strides his second season; despite Ciro Immoble arriving as Serie A top scorer and Adrian Ramos arriving from Hertha Berlin- he led the line as the main centre forward. His improvement has been continuous- to the extent that he finished as 2015 third highest scorer behind Messi & Ronaldo. On top of the athletic ability, he works his socks off- closing defenders down constantly, he’s now a great dribbler, he’s good in the air, and he has great predatory instincts. The dude is awesome. With a fee as high as £80 million being touted- I can only really see him going to Real or City unfortunately.
Arkadiusz Milik & Vincent Janssen
These two young prospects from the Eredivisie are likely to command the cheapest transfer fees on this list. They both have been scoring for fun. That doesn’t necessarily mean they will be the next Luis Suarez- we’ve seen that before in the Dutch league from Alfonso Alves, Mateja Kezman and Jozy Altidore who bombed horrifically in England.
Milik is more known for his eye for a pass compared to Janssen. He had a great overall contribution by laying on 7 assists, in addition to his 21 goals in 31 league games this season. He’s also more likely to take a shot on from anywhere, not just inside the box. He loves running with the ball at his feet, & he’s not afraid to make a challenge or do some defensive dirty work. A hint of Rooney perhaps. The 22 year old already has 10 international goals, and made history and became the darling of his nation by scoring in Poland’s first ever victory over Germany. Recently he’s been strongly linked with being in a transfer tug-of-war between Rome clubs- Lazio & Roma, but he’s pretty much been linked to every top club, even Barcelona. He’s supposedly a Man Utd fan. If Wenger needs a comprehensive report- he need only contact Ajax Assistant manager- the one & only Iceman, The Menace- Dennis Bergkamp.
Janssen has had a bit of a Vardy-esque journey, having failed to make the grade at Feyenoord, let go from their academy without being offered a contract. Janssen said on this recently, “I saw that coming,” he said. “I didn’t have my best years at the Feyenoord youth academy”…..”You should have a big mouth, and I had a problem with that in the beginning.” Manager of second division Almere, former Ajax keeper Fred Grim took a punt on him, “Almere are a club that has to constantly look for players who were let go by the bigger teams.”….. “I don’t know why Feyenoord didn’t want Vincent, but I knew that he was a very good striker. After talking to him, it was easy to understand that he is a great professional too” For Almere he bagged 10 goals in 2013/14, then 19 goals in 2014/15. AZ Alkmaar came calling and Grim was quick to praise his departing young striker, “He keeps the ball well with his back to the goal. He knows how to position himself. He is quick and makes the right movements. He works hard without the ball and puts a lot of pressure on the defenders.”…… “Importantly, he is two footed, which makes his moves in the penalty area difficult to predict — he can go right, and he can go left. A lot of strikers can only shoot with one foot, and they are much easier to mark.”…. “Vincent has the right mentality. He is always willing to learn, very open and dedicated.”….. “From the very beginning, I was sure that he will go far.” Janssen has hit 27 in 34 league games in his debut season for Alkmaar, was prolific for the Dutch U21s & has now made two appearances for the full national team- drawing comparisons with all-time great, fox-in-the-box Ruud Van Nistelrooy.
I’m assuming you guys all know him as well as me. Obviously he’s a proven goalscorer at Prem level, he’s a strong athletic guy, can get some goals with his right foot as well as his stronger left- & with his head, and generally seems hungry on the pitch. Former manager Roberto Martinez said “I wouldn’t swap Rom for anyone,” and “to have a player growing all the time and becoming one of the best talents in European football makes you extremely proud.” Poor Roberto!- always seemed a nice guy. However- for my two cents: his goalscoring seems very patchy- much like our current strikers. Unlike Morata, he doesn’t produce his best football against the biggest teams- scoring once from 10 league matches against the top 5 this season.
Reportedly subject of a rejected £31 million bid by West Ham. Lacazette has been a prolific scorer the last 3 seasons in Ligue 1; totals of 15 in 36 matches (2013/14), 27 in 33 (2014/15), 21 in 33 (2015/16). However, IMO he hasn’t really performed when stepping up in competition- 5 goals in 22 European matches over the last 3 seasons, 1 goal in 10 appearances for the French national team- he’s on standby for the French Euro 2016 squad but hasn’t made the cut- barring injuries. He is still just shy of his 25th birthday though, and will likely improve. Lacazette was given his big break in the Lyon team by recent Aston Villa managerial failure and first Arsene Wenger Arsenal signing- Remi Garde. Garde came in and drastically cut the Lyon wage bill, selling the likes of high profile players Michel Bastos & Lisandro Lopez, and giving youth an opportunity- moving Lacazette from the wing to his youth team position of striker (taking a page out of Arsene’s book with TH14). Didier Deschamps, France manager, has stated on a potential big move, “At a certain point, there are choices to make. When you move to a higher level, there’s more competition. But Alex has already proven that he has all the qualities required to move up some levels.” Those qualities are primarily his pace, energy, dribbling, strength and two-footedness. He’s not great in the air, or with his back to goal.