With Robin Van Persie’s future still very much up in the air, it may seem a little pessimistic to start talking about potential replacements. The Dutchman has been in remarkable form this season scoring 37 goals (and grabbing 15 assists). He’s likely to be impossible to replace – but that’s the task Arsene Wenger could face this summer should RVP decide to try his luck elsewhere.
Yes Arsenal’s main concern should be making sure that RVP stays, but it’s worth having a contingency plan in place if the worst happens. Anything to avoid the nightmarish torpor of last summer, where the Gunner’s were left reeling after their two best players signed for new clubs late on in the transfer window. Arsene Wenger clearly hadn’t planned for any such contingency and Arsenal’s start to the season was effected as a result.
This time round it’s got to be different. The signs are good: Arsenal have already signed Lukas Podolski from FC Koln. The Polish born German forward can play on the wings or as a striker. But he’s not a replacement for RVP. If the Dutchman does decide to move on they’ll need to sign somebody else to take on the goalscoring burden. But who’s got the chutzpah to fill such big boots?
On the that list I think we can immediately cross off the likes of Falcao, Llorente, Higuain, Benzema, and Cavani for being too expensive.
Roberto Soldado may cost a pretty penny too, but Wenger may well be tempted to break Arsenal’s transfer record to bring over a striker who has been so effective in the Premier League. The realistic targets here must be Olivier Giroud, Robert Lewandowski or Matias Suarez.
Suarez has a £10m price-tag and like Podolski can operate as a forward or a winger. Wenger’s known to like this level of versatility and may well be impressed by his 19 goals and 17 assists for Anderlecht this season. His Belgium league colleagues certainly were – they voted him Player of the Season for 2011/12.
I’m not so sure about Robert Lewandowski. Yes he’s scored an incredible 30 goals in 46 appearances for Dortmund this year, but last year he only scored 9 goals in 43 appearances. Outside of the Bundesliga he’s only played in the Polish League. There’s nothing here to say that he’s anything more than a flash in the pan.
Which brings me to Olivier Giroud. According to the Telegraph, Arsene Wenger is keeping a close eye on the 25-year-old Frenchman. He’s been improving on a season-by-season basis, provides aerial ability (something Arsenal lack) and a good source of goals. This season he’s grabbed 25 goals in 41 appearances – a pretty healthy return. Indeed, in terms of pure goalscoring prowess, he’d be the man for me.
Not as a replacement for RVP – but somebody who could combine with Podolski to pick up the goal scoring slack.
What’s your take? Is there anyone out there who could replace the mighty Dutchman?
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