Former Premier League striker Carlton Cole believes Arsenal will struggle to sign a striker to replace the injured Gabriel Jesus in January.
The Brazilian forward has played a starring role for the Gunners this season but picked up an injury during the World Cup, which is set to keep him out for an extended period.
Arsenal only have Eddie Nketiah to stand in for Jesus as a natural alternative and have been linked with a move for Joao Felix, but Cole claims that signing a striker in the winter window will not be straightforward.
Mikel Arteta’s side are currently five points clear at the top of the Premier League, but they now face a big test as they look to cope without their £45m signing from Manchester City.
Speaking on TalkSport, Cole suggested that if Arsenal were to try and sign a replacement in January, convincing players to join will be difficult as they will likely drop down to the bench when Jesus regains fitness.
He said: “I feel that Arteta is gonna have it sewn up.
“He’s gonna say, ‘cool, Jesus is out, we’ve got Nketiah and we’ve got Martinelli,’ and obviously they’ve got Smith-Rowe that’s coming back as well.
“They’ve got enough. What player is going to want to go to Arsenal and be second-choice when Gabriel Jesus gets back?
“What player are you going to get in this market, in the January window – I don’t think you can get a lot for your money there that’s going to be able to accept that.”
TIF Thoughts on Arsenal and strikers…
Given that the club gave Nketiah a long-term contract at the end of last season, it is clear that they have full faith in him as an understudy to Jesus.
However, given the potential length of Jesus’ layoff, an attacker may be prioritised, but a versatile attacker who can play both through the middle and on the wings may be desired over a number nine.
Mykhaylo Mudryk has been strongly linked, and given that the Ukrainian can play across the attacking line, he could come in and initially play through the middle before moving to the wings once Jesus is back.