If Arsenal buy a top striker what happens to Giroud?

Arsenal are linked with a number if quality striker targets as we head into the transfer window next month.

Since the sale of Robin van Persie to Manchester United last summer, the Gunners have relied on new signing Olivier Giroud as their only recognized centre-forward with cameos up front for Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and even Gervinho.

The North Londoners are linked with big names like Stevan Jovetic, Edinson Cavani, Edin Dzeko and even Wayne Rooney. Should a top quality centre-forward come in, what happens to Giroud?

The Frenchman performed admirably in his debut Premier League season, despite a slow start. He maintained a decent level of form a d fitness upon which he'll be hoping to improve on next season. He scored 17 goals and made an impressive 11 assists in all competitions.

The likes Podolski and Walcott are often deployed on the flanks but that's not really something the Frenchman has in his skill set.

He's a similar option to Nicklas Bendtner in terms of his physicality and the kinds of goals he scored, whilst Frenchman possesses superior quality to the wantaway Dane, he might feel the same concerns Bendtner did when he was briefly deployed on the wing a couple of seasons ago. That’s not really an option, realistically.

Of course, competition for places is a good thing - it ensures form and application remains at a high and consistent level but Giroud has done well and his confidence could be damaged by a) a big name striker and b) prolonged periods on the bench.

An in-form Jovetic for example is likely to get the nod ahead of him and, whilst Podolski was the most substituted player at the club in his debut season last term, he’ll be looking to play more as well.

Giroud would be a great option to have on the bench – we’ve all seen on a regular basis what happens in the last 20 minutes of games Arsenal are drawing or losing when teams park the bus and the Gunners end-up sideways passing around the opposition’s half without much in the way of penetration.

The Frenchman is a great target in the box and he’s very useful defending set-pieces the other end as well. He holds up the ball and offers the manager a good option but, realistically, he is not of the quality of Van Persie or any other the strikers mentioned above.

Ultimately, Arsenal need to buy a proper replacement for the departed Dutchman - a world-class finisher who can change a game with sheer class - but Giroud might have to resign himself to the idea of playing second-fiddle to whoever comes in. I suspect when he signed, he may have been preparing to be behind Van Persie in the pecking order, Podolski too perhaps.

Whilst he's been thrown in at the deep end this term, through necessity, he's unlikely to make 47 appearances for Arsenal if they buy another striker. Subsequently, he's unlikely to net another 17 goals as a return.

images: © Ronnie Macdonald, © ronnie macdonald

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