Arsenal have been heavily reliant on the services of France striker Olivier Giroud in recent times with youngster Yaya Sanogo still raw and lacking top-level experience. As a result, manager Arsene Wenger is widely expected to sign a forward this summer to bolster his attacking line-up.
Last summer the Gunners put in a now infamous £40,000,001 bid for Liverpool striker Luis Suarez but ended up signing play-maker Mesut Ozil instead for a club record fee of £42.4million.
Arsenal’s pass on former captain Cesc Fabregas - who instead signed for Chelsea for £30million - demonstrates the Gunners boss does not feel he needs any more creative midfielders in his squad, and with a healthy financial situation at the club that has shown financial restraint over the last decade, there is the funding available to spend big on a top striker.
Colombia striker Jackson Martinez is a top talent and would be, in my estimation, worth every penny of his £35million release clause at FC Porto. However, the 27-year-old is more of a traditional No.9, similar in style and role to Giroud, while 25-year-old Chile star Alexis Sanchez is, in his capacity at Barcelona and for his country, more similar to Luis Suarez.
Wenger was willing to pay big money (although not enough for Liverpool’s liking) for Suarez who is more of a creative 10-and-a-half than an out-and-out No.9 centre forward. Arsenal already have an admirable target man in Giroud (and Sanogo) but what they lack up front is a deeper-lying forward who can contribute to build-up play in the way that Robin van Persie had previously; a player who can pull wide or drop deep to drag defenders around creating space for the abundance of danger men they have in midfield.
Barcelona are thought to be open to letting the Chilean go this summer and reports suggest a fee of around £32million could be enough to settle the deal. One way or another somewhere between £30million and £40million this summer and the Gunners could have a lethal forward added to their squad.
Either one of these goal machines would be a welcome signing for Arsenal fans, no doubt, but if it was a choice between the two, the North Londoners have more of a genuine requirement for a player with flair, vision, creativity, flexibility and tenacity, such as Sanchez, than they do for a powerful, physical, robust centre-forward as Martinez is.
They already have a similar style of player and, as evidenced by their attempt to sign Suarez last summer to no avail, Wenger seemingly recognises the requirement for a player closer to Sanchez’s skill-set.
It is, of course, possible that having signed Ozil last summer, Wenger may feel he has enough creativity and flair in his midfield to compensate for not having that kind of forward up front, and we must not forget the likes of Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott who can be dangerous in not altogether dissimilar role.
Martinez would represent competition for Giroud more than a different option and thus I would expect the manager to bring in a player who can either play alongside the Frenchman or provide an alternative threat up front for Arsenal.