Arsenal are off to a great start this season, but are they one more striker away from a title winning season?
Arsenal have erased the opening-day defeat to Aston Villa from their supporter's minds by winning their next five league games, only to see their victorious streak halted after West Bromwich Albion held them to a draw.
The story of the summer, though, was the club's fans getting their protracted wish as Arsene Wenger splashed the cash and brought in the wonderful talent of Mesut Ozil; a player who is already producing the form that shows precisely why the Frenchman paid £42.4m to ensure his transfer to the Emirates Stadium.
Meanwhile, striker Olivier Giroud has proven his doubters wrong with a prolific start to the season, but injuries to Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott, who could play as strikers in emergencies, leave Nicklas Bendtner, Park Chu-Young and Yaya Sanogo as cover – leading to speculation that Wenger will get his cheque-book out again in January for another striker.
With rumours already doing the rounds ahead of the New Year transfer flurry, here are five strikers that Wenger could look to target:
BAFETIMBI GOMIS, LYON
The man known as 'Baby Drogba' is unlikely to have an impact like the Didier enjoyed at Chelsea, but with his contract expiring in 2014, Arsenal could grab themselves a bargain by landing the 28 year old hit-man.
With a combination of power and pace, Gomis looks perfectly suited to the Premier League and was recently a target for Newcastle United. Having scored 20 goals in all competitions last season, Gomis would be a dangerous, inexpensive alternative to Giroud even if he doesn't crack the starting line up on a regular basis.
DIEGO COSTA, ATLETICO MADRID
The Brazilian-turned-Spaniard is currently two goals clear in the race for the Pichichi, which is staggering considering he's challenging Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Once a target of Liverpool, Costa has recently been linked with a move to North London after Wenger lauded the 25-year-old.
'They have really good players in midfield and of course there is Diego Costa. This guy is an animal, he can score in any situation,' Wenger told Eurosport, as reported by Here Is The City yesterday.
Does this signify a legitimate interest in Costa? His start to the season has been incredible, and whilst Atleti will be reluctant to sell yet another prolific striker – see Radamel Falcao, Sergio Aguero, Fernando Torres – a move to Arsenal could be too tempting for him to turn down.
JACKSON MARTINEZ, PORTO
Colombian striker Martinez appears to be something of a late bloomer – aged 27, the former Chiapas striker smashed 34 goals for Porto last season and has continued his goalscoring touch this season.
Also thought to be a target for Napoli and Chelsea, Wenger could get a free run at Martinez after both of those sides purchased strikers in the summer. Another player who combines pace and power to devastating effect, Martinez looks like a player who would flourish in England.
DEMBA BA, CHELSEA
On deadline day, it looked as if Ba would be joining Ozil at the Emirates but Chelsea pulled the plug at the last minute. Speculation now suggests that Wenger will return with another bid in January, though whether as a loan or a permanent deal remains to be seen.
Ba is frustrated at Stamford Bridge with Mourinho so far preferring to feature Fernando Torres or Samuel Eto'o up front. Whilst Ba's record at Chelsea – six goals in 26 games – isn't very impressive, his goal ratio of one in two at Newcastle still makes him a threat in the Premier League.
KARIM BENZEMA, REAL MADRID
Strongly linked with a move which would see him follow Ozil from Real Madrid, Benzema is under pressure after a lacklustre start to the season. It has gotten to the point where some Madrid fans want 20 year old Alvaro Morata to start ahead of him.
Having sold Gonzalo Higuain in the summer, Madrid have only Benzema and Morata as recognised centre forwards, but with another bid for Luis Suarez reportedly in the pipeline, Madrid could look to sell Benzema in order to balance the books – and Arsenal could be the perfect place to revive his career.
Of the strikers listed, who would you sign and why? Or are Arsenal better off sticking with Bendtner? Comment below...
image: © Jan S0L0