Arsene Wenger sent Joel Campbell, Yaya Sanogo and Lukas Podolski out on loan in January because he said that Arsenal had too many strikers at the club and they wouldn’t get any playing time at the Emirates,despite Olivier Giroud just having returned from injury and with Danny Welbeck spending a lot of time on the treatment table himself. Now it apears that Wenger was correct as Giroud and Welbeck are both nearly automatically the first names on the team-sheet each week.
Giroud has been in scintillating form for the Gunners since returning from his enforced lay-off, and his double against Newcastle has taken him to 17 goals in 19 starts plus 7 sub appearances. This has equalled his tally from his first season with us in 2012/13 when he started 33 games plus 14 as sub and just helps to illustrate his massive improvement.
But Arsene Wenger thinks that the Frenchman will get even better, despite being the grand old age of 29. “He is a player who has a good mental strength because at 22 he was playing in division three,” Wenger said on the official Arsenal website. “Now he plays at Arsenal. There is still room for improvement for him.
“He benefits from the fact that he has not started a few games. He has also improved his technical game. Technically he is a much better player and that’s why he scores goals.
“His touch, his link play, his finishing has all improved. He takes some images from when he arrived in England and today he is a better player.
“I think he is one of the best strikers around because he scores the goals, has a presence and he’s a fighter as well. Above all he is a team player – he fights for the team.”
Giroud can take heart from the career of Didier Drogba, who also first moved to a top club (Marseille) when he was 25 years old, and is still banging them in at 37 years of age. Perhaps Olivier can also have many more years at the top.
Then we have Danny Welbeck, who Wenger described as having “something special” after he scored against his old club Manchester United. Wenger also said: “I knew Danny superficially and I’m surprised how complete a player he is, how good his mentality is, how ambitious he is as a player and how keen he is to learn, as well as how intelligent he is. I think he has everything in the locker to be a fantastic striker.”
So that’s two strikers highly admired by Wenger. We also have Chuba Akpom, who has recently signed a new contract. He is young and has a great scoring pedigree in the youth sides. He has recently been elevated to the senior side and will be another great striker one day.
We will also have Sanogo and Campbell returning next season, hopefully with some good experience under their belts and willing to challenge for a first team place. So, who still thinks that Wenger will be in the market for another striker his summer?