Even if Arsenal hadn’t began the season in such ebullient fashion they’d surely have been keen to delve into the January transfer market for a striker to share the goal-getting yoke with Olivier Giroud.
However, the Gunners are in to 5/1 in bwin’s Premier League outright betting after seven games making a January firepower boost all the more necessary if they are to avoid flagging on the way to throwing down a serious title challenge.
Two international strikers are currently being linked with the Gunners, one a parsimonious loan-signing and one a potentially Ozilesque bank-buster.
The budget choice – Fernando Llorente (loan)
Centre-halves of the ilk of Barcelona’s Gerard Pique have gone on record as saying how little they enjoy playing against the 6ft 5in former Athletic Bilbao battering ram, who could be available on loan in January.
An 18-goal salvo in 2010/11 represents the peak of the Basque’s league output and although he’s managed a mere six strikes in 38 starts since the beginning of last season he could represent a very useful second fiddle to Giroud.
His similar stature would make him a like-for-like replacement for the Frenchman and his international strike-rate of seven goals in 22 for Spain highlights the fact that he’s a fine machine in need of just a little renovation.
The statement splash-out – Jackson Martinez (at least £32m)
Premier League scouts really need to start donning dark glasses and false moustaches and following their Portuguese opposite numbers through airport security.
Martinez is currently following in the footsteps of Porto snips Radamel Falcao, Hulk and Lisandro Lopez in ripping up the Primeira Liga on his way to a cash-splashing transfer to bigger and better things.
He adjusted to the move from Chiapas of Mexico to hi-spec European football with ease last term, notching 34 goals in 43 appearances and has eight more to show for nine outings in 2013/14.
The potential ramifications for Giroud
Having made a start to life at the Emirates that was no more than satisfactory after signing from Montpellier at the beginning of 2012/13, Arsenal’s senior centre-forward has gone from strength to strength this term, nabbing six goals in 11 games.
The loan signing of Llorente would enable the Frenchman to be rested occasionally whilst still retaining his ‘preferred pick’ status, however lavishing dough on Martinez would surely lead to Giroud’s subjugation to a substitute role.