Arsenal’s top striker targets fully analysed

Rumoured Arsenal striker targets by Aidan

Mauro Icardi

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.

Gonzalo Higuain

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.

Alvaro Morata

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.

Romelu Lukaku

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.

Alexandre Lacazette

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.



  1. All this player review is great but with Giroud and his powers of begging Arsene to not sign any player is making me wonder if Wenger is going for Solid defence and a half-decent striker. Milik looks really good and a player of his ability can be relatable to lewandowski.

  2. Romelu Lukaku is who I would like most,he’s young but experienced,proven in the EPL,he’s strong athletic and reminds me of Didier Drogba who always used to torment us,if he can score goals in an under performing Everton surely he’ll score goals at Arsenal!

  3. Very very interesting reading..kudos to u Aidan!

    TBH, I am now so confused as to who will be good for us but let’s use some elimination method to trim the list down….
    Unrealistic due to current teams and price involved :
    LewadowskiHiguain,and Auba +he wants to move to Madrid only..

    Unrealistic due to price tag and very big risk:Lukaku and Morata..

    Still not convincing enough:Icardi

    Realistic,Lesser risk due to relatively low price tag:Milik and Janssen and maybe Lacazette..

    Personally,I love Morata,if Wenger gives him the chance Giroud/walcott/Ramsey gets am sure he will be massive for us..
    But for the rumoured price(51m)it is very risky..

    The best risk to take would be one or two from..Janssen,Milik and Lacazette…

    1. Personally i’m so worried about this Morata obsession. Juve created 464 chances just like Arsenal. Morata scored about the same goals as Giroud. they have similar attributes as strikers except for a few differences here and there. there is eerie similarities with giroud and Morata, and I hope this is not Wenger trying to deliver Giroud 2.0 to us…the more expensive option actually

      1. Morata is by no means the best out and out striker of the bunch. I would like to see one of hte unrealistic ones (Aubamayng orLukaku).

        However Morata would not be a Giroud 2.0. He is much more talented and gifted, and perhaps most importantly he is much quicker than Giroud. One of Girouds biggest weaknesses IMO is the fact that his lack of pace restricts our tactics and the strengths of our best players.

        Ozil can not use half his abilities to see paces because Giroud doesn’t have the pace to go after defense splitting passes. We can also not play on the counter attack and use the pace of Sanchez and Iwobi as much because Giroud is too slow to keep up.

        This means our main tactic seem to be to lock opponents in the own final third and hope to out pass them till kingdom come. This tactic is not so successful, not in the least because Giroud doesn’t have a quick release like RVP or Podolski had which makes him easy to defend against in the box since he needs too much time to shoot.

        Morata has non of these weaknesses and even has the ability to go around a defender, not something Giroud can do.

        1. Jasen, this is a perfect analysis of a player Giroud is. Any decent striker would easily have scored more than 25 league goals for Arsenal a season with the number of chances our midfield creates in every match.
          Giroud needs a whole lot of time to shoot, can’t dribble, can’t stretch defenders with incisive runs or create spaces for our midfielders to score.
          The difference between a target centre forward and a striker is that ‘A target man waits for the ball to be put at his foot or his head for him to score and most times a centre forward holds on to the ball with his back to goal waiting for runners to run in to receive a pass from him so he can position or free himself to score but a STRIKER is a player who runs to meet the ball. A striker with the ball at his feet is looking to dribble past defenders and take them on. He is more willing to go all alone rather than hold on to ball for his team mates to arrive albeit, with opposing team’s defenders. He is a player who will always love to create his own chances out of nothing and give assist where possible. The difference in purchasing price is apparent. A target man costs between 10m to 20m whereas a striker costs between 35m to 60m. Giroud is more of a target man than a striker. What Arsenal urgently need is a Striker NOT a Target man.

  4. Take these Eradivisie two thats Janssen and Malik as Giroud will not be let go, something to do with Wenger love…Get rid of Welbeck, Walcott conundrum as these are glassware players and always injured. One of these two players or both will leave Giroud in the hanger for dry…after just one season, with the EPL in cabinet, Wenger will realize Giroud should be shipped out…Dreaming right…don’t wake me up

  5. Next season is not the time to field players who have short comings on a ‘playtime improvement diet’. Sell Giroud get Higuain or Lewa. Don’t sell Giroud get Morrata or whoever to complement Giroud’s lack of pace up front (but incridible strength). Which mean you are in for a 4-4-2 formation or something similar. Lukaku can play alone but is he the big stage player to turn things around when chips are down? Ok whatever Wenger buys I hope he will bring great balance upfront.

  6. All these strikers seem to
    have issues of some sort.
    There must be some one out
    there who knows where the goal is
    and does not come with a bad attitude
    or unreasonable wage demands.
    At least we have Sanogo to save the day 🙂

  7. fingers crossed we get a lethal striker.we know arsenal can disappoint at times we hype ourselves and find out no striker sighing.I hope this window will be different we really need a striker ,them we move to cb

  8. Kevin Gameiro?
    we can go on forever like this especially this early but ultimately we just need someone worthy(in our case tolerable) of our No.9 jersey

  9. Annnnd Sanogo comes back to be a 30 goals per season striker LOOL. I wish.. In any case i wouldn’t mind having Icardi or Lacazette as they’d be our most realistic targets. We just need a clinical natural striker, no hold up play but selfishness. We need a striker who will shoot on target any chance he gets instead of trying to pass to others, we need another dimension to our game.

  10. Obviously if we had a young striker coming through then it could greatly help our striker problem. I have looked up the stats for akpom and sanogo in championship. Both have three goals (none from penalties) and one assist. Akpom has played 1798 minutes and Sanogo 386 minutes. Translating that to minutes per goal, akpom is 600 minutes and Sanogo 129 minutes.

    Akpoms strike rate playing for hull is poor, but I do not know what position they have been playing him. Sanogo’s strike rate playing for charlton is very good but all the goals were scored in a hatrick against reading. Not sure what to make of that.

    On the face of it neither akpom or sanogo are going to solve our stiker problem. Does anyone else have any better knowledge of how they are doing.

    1. all of akpoms goals came in a hattrik vs bury who aren’t in the championship

      sell theo use sanogo or akpom as third choice until welbz get better
      a striker like jansen or mllik could well turn out to be our harry kane

  11. It worries me that our main focus seems to have been to sign Xhaka. A good singing, if it happens, and most probably a strengthening of the squad and maybe even starting 11, but…
    hardly our biggest need given Coq’s and Elneny’s performances this past season.

    On a relative basis our biggest weaknesses this past season were striker (Giroud, Walcott) and CD (Mert, Gabriel).

    So why not spend our first energy and resources on those two weaknesses?

    Having said that, of the strikers on the above list Higaun would excite me the most, closely followed by Aubameyang. These two would be the lowest risk of failure IMO. However Wenger seems to equate risk to money spend which means the more expensive players are deemed more risky. In which case he would opt for the high risk targets of Milik and Janssen because Financially the would be the least expensive.

    1. I agree with your comments about new striker and defender, however I also felt we needed cover for le coq, and xhaka is probably an upgrade on le coq, time will tell.

      With regard to dealing with our biggest weakness first, I do not agree. What should happen is that weaknesses are identified and plans put in place to identify all targets and go after them all, early and at the same time. Then if a deal can be done, do it, asap. If you prioritise and say put the xhaka deal on hold until a striker is sorted then there is a good chance that the player will go elsewhere.

      Of course us fans are concerned that the other weaknesses are not being addressed, particularly the need for strengthening our goalscoring. Certainly the striker issue and no cover for le coq were identified by nearly everyone last summer and they were not addressed then.

    1. Agreed!
      Two for the price of (more ways than) one!
      Jansenn and Milik make Good sense to me,
      I would be happy with having these two young strikers at Arsenal, since it is obvious that wenger won’t be buying the likes of Aubameyang, Lewandowski or Lukaku .
      Who knows, Milik and Jansenn could even turn out to form a masterclass of a partnership in the near future.
      Sign them both up Wenger!.. and sell Giroud ?
      Wenger needs to tweak the formation, so that we play with two striker’s instead of one.

  12. Going by the analyses we should go for Vincent Janssen right left foot a complete striker there are not many out there that can use both feet and I really hope MR wenger pick him up

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