Not content with being fended off in their overtures towards Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez, Arsenal have turned their attentions towards another not-for-sale Premier League goal-getter in Swansea City’s 2012/13 bargain-buy Michu, in a move which seems to suggest the lack of a clear vision about the kind of forward the Gunners are after.
The thinking behind an Arsenal move for Michu is far from difficult to fathom, after he blasted 22 goals in 42 appearances in his debut season for mid-table Swansea City last term, despite shuttling back and forth between centre-forward and attacking midfield.
His goals would surely give Arsene Wenger’s men a much needed edge in the race for a top four Premier League finish, for which they have drifted to 6/5 (joint fourth favourites with bitter enemies Tottenham) on the back of their opening day calamity at home to Aston Villa.
At 6’1” Michu offers a viable aerial threat which the Gunners currently lack when attacking at speed, with Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertersacker’s interventions from defence at set-pieces their only reliable current source of nodded goals.
However the Spaniard is first and foremost an attacking midfielder with a penchant for arriving late on the scene to pocket his goals and the fact the Wenger is trying to recruit him having previously attempted to pick up Luis Suarez and Gonzalo Higuain makes it look as if Arsenal are going after any old goalscorer rather than one that fits into a particular structured tactical model.
The Argentinean – Arsenal’s first serious striking squeeze of the summer – is the very ACME of a forward lineage that stretches back through Filipo Inzahgi to Gary Lineker, the fox in the box.
Meanwhile Suarez – brilliant though he is – is still far from the most reliably deadly finisher and is more likely to create his own goals with moments of genius than appear from a puff of smoke to convert the kind of passing move which the North London club pride themselves upon.
These are changing tactical times and nowhere more so than in attack, where a traditional two striker set up is going the way of the dodo, but the differences in playing style between the Gunners’ three forward targets are stark enough to suggest an approach to squad improvement that doesn’t seem to adhere convincingly to any preconceived idea as to what kind of player is required.