Arsenal’s striker search disguises a more pressing problem

Gunners midfielders can solve problem by remembering how to score

Theo Walcott’s devastating injury appears to have forced Arsene Wenger’s hand in the January transfer window, and the Arsenal manager is certain to attempt to sign a striker.

Several names have been mentioned; the latest rumour doing the rounds is that Wenger could attempt to sign Alvaro Morata on loan from Real Madrid, which would provide a short-term answer and in theory give the Gunners some crucial extra firepower in attack.

It may prove a difficult hunt, however, with Madrid reportedly reluctant to let Morata leave, and there appears to be a general dearth of available – and suitable – forwards across Europe.

That is a problem – unless Wenger decides that he simply does not need another striker. And he may well feel that way. Olivier Giroud though currently unavailable, is expected back within weeks, and in the meantime there is plenty of attacking quality in Wenger’s side.

Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Thomas Rosicky and Serge Gnabry are all effective attacking weapons, and all capable in front of goal. The centre-forward position could, in theory, be filled by Lukas Podolski, who while not a natural centre-forward is a good natural finisher.

However, that solution will only work if Arsenal’s midfielders remember how to find the net again - and therein lies the problem for Wenger.

During the early months of the season, when Giroud’s goals were being regularly supplemented by the free-scoring Ramsey, there were few concerns.

Since November, however, Arsenal’s goals from midfield have dried up. Ramsey has not scored since the 3-0 win at Cardiff on the last day of November and is now injured, while Ozil netted his last goal at home to Everton a month ago.

Cazorla has found the net only once in the league, a poor return from a player who scored 12 times in 56 games for the Gunners last season, although he did net in the FA Cup last weekend.

Walcott’s injury has thrown that lack of goals into sharper context – suddenly Arsenal look a little toothless. But Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to return to the side from injury, alongside Ramsey, and if they and Ozil can discover their range, the hunt for a striker suddenly becomes less urgent as the current injury problems gradually ease.

Wenger may still feel he needs another forward to add a little extra quality, but Arsenal have plenty of other effective attackers – they just need to start scoring goals again.

image: © joncandy

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