Rating the likelihood of 10 strikers Arsenal could buy this January

Arsene Wenger Big Coat

With Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner out injured, Arsene Wenger needs to sign a new striker more than ever.

Here are 10 options Arsenal could consider...

Diego Costa

The biggest name to be linked with Arsenal this winter, Diego Costa is currently in the form of his life at Atletico Madrid. The 25-year-old has this season netted 19 times in 18 La Liga games and scored four times in three in the Champions League. However, Costa is in the midst of a title challenge with Atletico and would need persuading if he were to leave before the end of the season. Morever, Atletico are likely to demand a hefty fee for the striker, while he is also ineligible to play in Europe.

Chances: 50/50

Champions League: Ineligible

Jackson Martinez

Another forward to have proven himself both at home and abroad this season is Jackson Martinez, who has netted 12 times in 14 Portuguese Liga matches and twice in the Champions League. The 27-year-old is clearly capable of producing in Europe and has expressed his desire to move to a bigger club - namely in the Premier League. Once again, the asking price would likely be high - but lower than that of Costa.

Chances: Likely if Arsenal mean business

Champions League: Ineligible

Dimitar Berbatov

Dimitar Berbatov is a man that ticks every box. The 32-year-old is in form, has already played for several years in the Premier League and Champions League and would come much cheaper than any of Arsenal's other targets. Berbatov's work-rate, though, is questionable, meaning there is no guarantee he would be a success at the Emirates. His goal return, meanwhile, (four from 15) means Wenger would be taking a punt on the Bulgarian.

Chances: Likely

Champions League: Eligible

Alvaro Morata

At 21 years of age, Alvaro Morata could present a wise transfer option for the Gunners. His relative youth means Real Madrid would be unlikely to let him go on a permanent basis - but a loan deal would seem very likely. Morata would thus cost Arsenal less and would provide perfect short-term cover. His ineligibility in Europe, though, would still leave Arsenal short if Olivier Giroud got injured - at least against Bayern Munich, for now.

Chances: Likely

Champions League: Ineligible

Mario Balotelli

A very interesting possibility, Mario Balotelli could represent the perfect signing for Arsenal, while also providing significant value for the future. The AC Milan forward is currently unsettled in Italy and reports have suggested that he is wanted by several clubs in England. At 23, Balotelli could enjoy several fruitful years in north London - or be sold for a good resale price in the coming months or years. Again, though, the Italian would be ineligible in Europe, while his temperament problems could leave the Gunners exposed in key games.

Chances: Likely if Arsenal mean business

Champions League: Ineligible

Christian Benteke

An outside choice, Christian Benteke could be someone who slots seamlessly into Arsenal's current side under the right circumstances. The Aston Villa striker has struggled this season but proved last term that he can mix it with the best at Premier League level. The Belgian would also be eligible for the Champions League and is only 22 years of age.

Chances: Long shot

Champions League: Eligible

Pato

Another outside choice, Pato is a forward Wenger could look to if he wanted a reduced price and a track record of European experience. Brazil striker Pato played for AC Milan for six years and scored a wealth of both Serie A and Champions League goals. Injury problems curtailed his Milan career, however, and he moved back to Brazil last summer. There, he has scored nine goals this season. The plus side for Wenger would be a transfer fee that does not reach double figures, though the downside would be a big risk with injuries.

Chances: Outside chance

Champions League: Eligible

Javier Hernandez

Here is a move that would make perfect sense on all counts.. except one. Javier Hernandez would fit in perfectly with Arsenal's team and would be a sure bet to score at least 15 goals in a full season at the Emirates. His youth would make him the ideal candidate, while his lack of regular playing time could reduce his price. However, Manchester United would be extremely unlikely to sell to to the Gunners, which is a big shame for Wenger and his charges.

Chances: Unlikely

Champions League: Ineligible

Edin Dzeko

Staying in Manchester, Edin Dzeko could also be a reasonable solution for the north London side. His style of play may not fit ideally with Arsenal's, though his goalscoring credentials are unquestionable. What's more, Manchester City would welcome bids with the Bosnian not first-choice at the Etihad Stadium. But Dzeko is perhaps unlikely to want to leave City for Arsenal, while a fee would leave a big chunk in the Gunners' budget.

Chances: Long shot

Champions League: Ineligible

Hulk 

A final candidate for Wenger's shortlist, Hulk is perhaps an unlikely option. The Zenit striker has, however, scored 10 goals in 21 games in all competitions this term and offers a level of pace and strength that would add a new dimension to Arsenal's attack. Interest in the Brazilian seems to have waned in recent times, with the striker choosing several unexpected moves due to his complicated system of ownership, but his goalscoring exploits are there if the Gunners run out of other options.

Chances: Unlikely

Champions League: Ineligible

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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