It’s the worst kept secret in English football that Arsenal could use another striker in January.
The Gunners are currently a little over-reliant on Olivier Giroud and have only Nicklas Bendtner for cover for the Frenchman. Meanwhile, they’re linked with a number of high-profile signings ahead of the January transfer window.
The likes of Karim Benzema and Fernando Llorente are the most widely suggested at present but Arsenal have been linked with another centre-forward for well over a year.
Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko has had a strange fate at the Etihad – the 27-year-old Bosnian only arrived to join Roberto Mancini’s Blues in 2011 but was never really considered the first-choice up front by Mancini and neither is he now by the Italian’s successor Manuel Pellegrini.
There seems to be only one real reason why and that, in my humble opinion, is due to City’s abundance of quality in their forward department – they have had over the course of Dzeko’s time at the Etihad the likes of Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli, former Arsenal man Emmanuel Adebayor, and now Stevan Jovetic, Alvaro Negredo as well as, of course, Edin Dzeko.
Dzeko was 25 when he arrived in Manchester off the back of a superb season with Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga – in the 2010/11 season prior to his January move to City, he scored 11 goals in 19 appearances. The previous season – his last full season in Germany – he netted 29 goals in all competitions.
The problem for Dzeko has always been playing time – so far this term, he’s made 7 appearances in the Premier League, three as a substitute and only one for a full 90 minutes. That’s the only occasion (against Newcastle on the opening day) that Dzeko’s played a full 90 minutes for City this season in all competitions.
On average, for every Premier League fixture City have had this season Dzeko has appearances for 32 minutes. Last season he averaged 47.9 minutes, scored 15 goals in all competitions but he rarely gets a full run out and with the arrival of Jovetic and Negredo this summer, it looks as though he’ll have much the same problem under Pellegrini as he did under Mancini.
His contract expires in 2015 – at present he earns £120,000 a week according to reports this year. That is quite excessive for a club like Arsenal but it’s not entirely out of the club’s comfort zone. They say Mesut Ozil is on around £140,000 a week at the Emirates and both Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski earn £100,000 a week so Dzeko would be manageable.
Especially given the fact that City might be resigned to paying him off some of his pay packet – they’ve done that before – and if he really wants to go (given the World Cup next summer), he’s already well acquainted with the Premier League which Benzema and Llorente, for example, are not and he’ll have a point to prove to his old City chums so he’ll be all fired up.
He’s not all that dissimilar a centre-forward to Giroud which means Arsenal wouldn’t need to adjust to him particularly and he wouldn’t really need to adjust to them because the style of play at City is often very similar to Arsenal’s. Overall, City could knock down the price or shave off some of his wages due to their astronomically high and completely unfeasible wage structure and Arsenal could have a top striker in the peak years of his career.
image: © mafue