Arsenal linked with more strikers than Bob Crow – and a Chelsea reject…
Sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League table at the international break, and with their rivals – and Southampton – bumping into each other in the chasing pack, this season could not have started better for Arsenal.
So good, however, that Arsene Wenger probably goes outside in his dressing gown in the middle of the night to nervously kick the tyres on the Gunnermobile. Surely the wheels must come off this unanticipated flying start soon?
International breaks can also interrupt the rhythm of a good run, and Wenger will bitterly remember the time that Holland returned Robin van Persie with serious damage for the Arsenal physios to fix.
So small wonder then, that the purveyors of the finest transfer rumours are linking Arsenal with another big goal-scoring acquisition in the transfer window, as news filters out that Olivier Giroud –with five goals this season – is feeling “fatigued”.
Perhaps the strangest name to be linked with bolstering the Arsenal strikeforce is a former Chelsea Ivorian. Not the one they’d probably rather have, granted, but Solomon Kalou.
Strictly speaking, it is Kalou who has been showing his ankle to Arsenal in an attempt to return to England, rather than a stroke of Wengerian counter-intuitive genius, but Kalou has banged in 18 goals for Lille since joining the summer before last.
Arsene Wenger has probably learnt his lesson with hot-in-France strikers in recent years after being let down by Gervinho and Chamakh, and having overcome his chronic sticker shock at the expensive end of the market, may well aim higher anyway.
Amongst the pricier options are Man United supersub Javier Hernandez, who for all his polite and educated demeanour must be running out patience at Old Trafford. The notion that United would part with a valued player to help Arsenal challenge for the title, though, is an excellent joke.
Similarly, Edin Dzeko, a player good enough to start for most Premier League sides, can’t hold down a starting shirt at Man City, but they’ve got enough problems of their own without lending a hand to their rivals.
Which means the most likely – and probably most expensive – option, is Karim Benzema. Object of intense fan ire at Real Madrid, Gareth Bale’s starting to fire at the Bernabeu has only fuelled Benzema’s unpopularity with the rowdier sections of the Madrid crowd.
Madrid can also hear the clock ticking on Benzema’s contract, with just 18 months remaining, and so the mutterers would have it that Arsenal may be able to prise him loose for £30m.
After their failed – and mildly humiliating – attempt to buy Gonzalo Higuain in the summer though, they may be twice shy in dealing with the crafty Spanish giants.
And if Giroud comes back from international duty with France with the slightest scratch or dent, those prices are going to start going up and up.
Arsenal are currently 7/2 to win the Premier League.