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Arsenal got lucky when snubbed by 44 goal in one season hitman

Former Arsenal striker target Klaas Jan Huntelaar's dismal 2013 has encountered a new disappointment.

Hands up. How many Arsenal fans wanted their club to sign Klaas-Jan Huntelaar last January?

Heading into the month the Dutchman was the hottest striker on the transfer market, in 2012/13 he scored 44 goals for club and country, and with his contract running out in 2014 he was seen as an ideal replacement for Robin van Persie.

Arsenal fans had seen what he was all about after he fired Schalke to a 2-1 Champions League win in October at the Emirates too, but after a protracted on-off saga, he signed a new deal with the Bundesliga club.

Arsenal's loss, it seemed at the time, but looking at the striker's nightmare 2013 they might just have had a lucky escape.

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Huntelaar's woes began back actually at the end of 2012, when he began a six game streak without a goal which continued into the new year.

Then in February, he suffered a freak eye injury. The Dutchman had to see a specialist after rupturing a blood vessel in his eye, missing weeks of action including an international clash between Holland and Italy.

When he returned it was not for long. He played three matches, scoring twice, before injury his knee and missing six games for Schalke, including their decisive Champions League second leg defeat to Galatasaray.

On his comeback in April against Hamburg, he hit a hat-trick, but that was where it ended, goalless in the final three games of the campaign.

The season 2013/14 has not been kind to him either, despite a positive start. Huntelaar bagged three goals in his opening three games, but has not played since. The last came back in August.

He suffered a knee injury and had hoped to return to training this week but an MRI scan has revealed a 'deteriotation in the ligament', and a comeback has been placed on hold.

Now reports indicate that Huntelaar may face an operation, which would rule him out until the new year.

It's a cruel blow for the striker, who had started the campaign in excellent form, but his fitness record this year has been a nightmare. If he has an operation he will face a serious battle to return to form and fitness to even ensure a place in Holland's 2014 World Cup squad, previously a certainty.

Arsenal fans who were determined their club sign him, and disappointed when they didn't, may want to reflect on how their club actually had a lucky escape in paying for a player to accompany Abou Diaby on the treatment table.

image: © tpower1978

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