Arsenal have reportedly shortlisted five strikers for the January transfer window, but which one is most likely to move to the Emirates Stadium?
It's no secret that the Gunners will look to target another centre forward in the January transfer window, with chief executive Ivan Gazidis making it clear that Olivier Giroud needs support, and shouldn't be relied upon entirely as Arsenal look to compete for silverware in Europe and in the Premier League.
And now, with club gearing up to sign players in the New Year, Arsene Wenger has been linked with five strikers as he looks to maintain Arsenal's position at the top of the Premier League. The signing of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid was the first real marquee signing Arsenal have made in a long time, and Wenger may look to repeat the trick by signing a big name striker to keep them firing on all cylinders.
Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa been linked with a move to North London for months now, especially after Wenger called the Brazilian-turned-Spaniard an “absolute animal”. Costa has been one of the top strikers in Europe this season, hitting 21 goals in 21 games in all competitions, and there is a rumoured £32m buyout clause inserted in his contract, which the 25 year old only signed in the summer to ward off interest from Liverpool.
Costa fits the mould of Giroud as a focal point of the attack, much like fellow Spain World Cup hopeful and Arsenal target Fernando Llorente. The former Athletic Bilbao striker moved to Serie A with Juventus in the summer, but initially found games hard to come by. A recent good run of form seems to have secured his future in the short-term at least, but after the Turin club bowed out of the Champions League in the group stage, Wenger is reportedly hoping to tempt the 28 year old to North London.
The least likely of the deals is Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski. The Polish hitman will leave the German side with his contract expiring next summer, and whilst he has been linked with a number of clubs, it's almost guaranteed that he will follow Mario Gotze in leaving Dortmund for rivals Bayern Munich. The 25 year old will announce his future plans in January, with most expecting him to announce an impending move to Pep Guardiola's side.
The report also links Arsenal with two players who aren't traditional centre forwards. The first is Ezequiel Lavezzi, who has fallen down the pecking order at Paris Saint-Germain since the arrival of Edinson Cavani in the French capital. However, Lavezzi – much like other rumoured target Stephan El Shaarawy – are not out-and-out strikers, they are primarily used out wide or behind the front man.
Arsenal aren't in need of players who play in those roles, and definitely need a striker more in the mould of Giroud, who has been successful this season. With the latter three somewhat unlikely, it may well be between Costa and Llorente – and whilst Costa may be more of a marquee signature, Llorente may be the more economical signing for the Gunners.
image: © Roger Gorączniak