The jury has returned on January 2013 signings up front in the Premier League, and the final verdict doesn’t make for great reading. Perhaps Arsenal shouldn't be so worried about missing out on a striker?
The jury has returned on January 2013 striker signings in the Premier League, and the verdict doesn’t make for great reading.
Per the BBC deadline day blog, 11 forwards were signed by Premier League clubs in the previous winter transfer window – hitting the back of the net 23 times in 108 ensuing games.
Certainly these men didn’t set the world alight, but didn’t fare too poorly, either.
For £12m Brendan Rodgers was blessed with 10 strikes from the former in 11 starts, a brilliant return on what has turned out to be an enduringly shrewd investment.
QPR smashed their transfer record in doling out £8m to net the highly-rated Remy from Marseille against the odds, though their faith was rewarded as the Frenchman became top scorer in just half a season’s work.
In contrast, Norwich snapped up duo Kei Kamara and Luciano Becchio, who hit the back of the net just once between them – entirely ineffectual at Carrow Road.
Yet despite the gap in personal success between the Liverpool hitman and his Loftus Road counterpart in contrast to the Canaries’ captures, the effects on club fortunes down the stretch were disturbingly similar - virtually non-existent.
From the end of January on, the Reds moved up just one place from eighth to finish a disappointing seventh, whilst bottom QPR failed to leave the foot of the table and were duly relegated.
Meanwhile, Norwich moved up a single notch to 11th, even with their fresh pair in attack misfiring as Sturridge and Remy – fruitlessly in terms of movement on the table – wheeled away in celebration with regularity.
This time around it’s been Arsenal who have filled the role of the Premier League’s club in need of reinforcements up front – without making a signing in this area as of deadline day.
With Theo Walcott sidelined for an extended period of time, Nicklas Bendtner being, well, Nicklas Bendtner and Olivier Giroud left to shoulder the load, the situation has looked a bit desperate at the Emirates.
The chase for the title is on for the Gunners – their best chance at glory in years – and it bears noting that Arsene Wenger’s side is a much more complete team than Liverpool were last term, which may need just a little extra thrust up front.
Yet still – the results of the previous winter window seem a haunting reminder that even a new striker can’t necessarily chart a club’s course towards the top, even if he strikes 10 times as Sturridge did.
Would Vucinic – scorer of just two Serie A goals this term – have made the difference for the Gunners? Could Draxler have thrived as a Walcott-style attacking threat – alternating between a place out wide and the lone role up front?
In the foreseeable future, we won’t know. But beating goalkeepers takes confidence, and confidence comes from feeding off of one’s environment – something it’s not certain two players with no Premier League experience could have done with expedience.
In terms of goals, the numbers – and more so ultimate ramifications - don’t lie. The outcome of January 2013 may not have created hard and fast rules, but suggests that missing out on a front man mid-season may not be as bad as it looks on the surface for Arsenal.