The North Londoners suffered bad news back on Monday when Theo Walcott was ruled out for at least six months through injury, compounding the problem Arsene Wenger already had reliant on Olivier Giroud as the only fit centre-forward in the squad.
Real Madrid youngster Alvaro Morata is considered an out-and-out striker but at just 21 years of age you would have to wonder what kind of adjustment he would need to make to move from his native Spain and join a title scrap in the Premier League after starting just one game for Real Madrid so far this La Liga season.
There is no doubt about the youngster’s ability but I have some reservations about his ability to hit the ground runner at Arsenal without a period of transition – he doesn’t speak the language, know the city and has not been playing regularly In Spain so to expect him to come in and take the burden off Olivier Giroud up front is a big ask I think.
Then there is 22-year-old Real Sociedad forward Antoine Griezmann who the Gunners have been linked to this week – he is predominantly deployed as a left winger at present but his 12 goals and 2 assists in 16 appearances so far this term proves his finishing is up their with the best in his current form.
Morata has scored just two goals and made no assists so far this season for Real Madrid but Griezmann’s record this term speaks for itself – both of them surely have the capability to play wide if asked or up front if need be but I think the Frenchman Griezmann would be the wiser choice for Arsene Wenger.
I think, despite his talent and potential, Morata does not yet possess the confidence and experience to really impact the Premier League title race in the way Wenger will be looking for a signing to come in and do instantly. Crucially, there is no evidence to support a claim that he could replace the goals Walcott scores for the team where, with Griezmann, there is certainly more tangible evidence he could.
Griezmann would be a signing to replace Walcott almost like-for-like but Real Sociedad will want a very good offer to even consider letting their star leave where as Real Madrid might be more willing to let Morata go out on loan for the rest of the season.
The other factor to consider is the return to fitness of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the emergence of Serge Gnabry – perhaps there isn’t a desperate need to bring in another wide-forward to directly cover for Walcott who should be back fit by next season.
A loan signing of a striker, Morata, would tick the boxes from a financial and practical stand-point but I do think Griezmann is, of the two, is the more likely to be able to do the job required if the Gunners are prepared to pay for him.
image: © Carlos RM