A final scouting blog of the decade from the unstoppable Mike McDonald. Follow him @mike_mmcdonald
Who could replace Laca/Auba?
Pete asked me to start writing these transfer blogs a few months ago.
I thought I’d have the privilege of writing maybe two as at that time it looked like we needed a DM and a CB or two.
A DM, CB, RB, LB and CM blog later it looks like Arsenal could be selling the whole squad, so happily I get to continue writing!
So, why a striker blog?
Got a feeling that Lacazette could be off to raise money for our club who aren’t flush with it. Most would choose a DM, a CB or two and a CM as a priority.
Aubameyang could be off too due to his age/contract demands, wanting to give ‘a Real Madrid’ a shot and quite honestly, I think his relationship with Lacazette dramatically affects his mood and maybe the #1 reason why both play together (too often).
At this point a decision has to be made about Nketiah and Martinelli in particular. No doubt John-Jules and Balogun want to see a pathway too.
If the decision is to promote one of them to replace Auba/Laca or both (unlikely), then perhaps we buy a winger (a blog for another day).
Before you read the striker profiles there are possibilities in players that you already know.
Barcelona are considering replacing Luis Suarez with Lautaro Martinez. If that happens then I see Suarez going to Inter Miami as Beckham’s star player. Either way, don’t rule out Luis Suarez.
Is Gabriel Jesus finally going to give up trying to become first-team regular?
Looks like Edinson Cavani, who is out of favour at PSG, is off to A.Madrid. Shame. Could be a superhero at Arsenal.
Thomas Muller is more of an AM, but I’ve always wondered if he’d be a top CF. Has all the qualities.
Finally, if Auba or Laca leave in January there is a certain Frenchman down at Chelsea who is trying to get out at Chelsea to secure his Euro’s spot. Giroud on loan?
Here are 8 to consider:
The obvious choice
Name: Moussa Dembele
Nationality: France U-23
Potential fee: £50M
About: Somewhat of a Lacazette clone except less clumsy, more comfortable with the ball and quicker.
I think Lacazette is an 7/10 striker. I think Dembele is an 8/10.
Taller and better in the air as well. Dembele has done his apprenticeship at Fulham (did they have two Moussa Dembele’s at the same time?) then Celtic then onto Lyon so Arsenal seems like a logical step.
May rule himself out of a move to a team trying to press from the front if he can’t demonstrate a keener willingness off the ball, however.
There is just something so logical about Dembele replacing Lacazette though.
Others in this category…. Timo Werner (RB Leipzig), Andrea Belotti (Torino)
The beast type
Name: Duvan Zapata
Height: 6ft 1
Club: Atalanta (on loan from Sampdoria)
Potential fee: 40M
About: If Duvan Zapata was 23 he’d be one of the hottest, most expensive prospects in Europe.
It’s not easy to score lots of goals in Serie A and Zapata can’t stop.
The Colombian is hard to handle.
Arguably his best quality is his determination in the box. He comes alive. Most strikers want to score but don’t feel like they have to score. Most centre backs play like they have to clear the ball.
Zapata has a centre backs mentality. You get the impression that he feels like he hasto score.
Would also offer Arsenal the physical option that’s needed especially when playing out of the back becomes too risky.
Currently recovering from an abductor strain.
Others in this category…. Hulk (Shanghai SIPG), Milik (Napoli)
The Henry conversion
Name: Rafael Leao
Position: LF but….
Club: AC Milan
Potential fee: £35M
About: AC Milan are again in a financial mess. Gazidis.
Remember how we snaffled Vieira, Bergkamp and Henry from Serie A?
All were struggling.
We converted Henry from LW to CF.
I’m not saying Leao is as good. I am saying that he has HUGE potential.
Like Henry, he is an athletic specimen like few others. An inverted winger. Quick, fast and skilful and currently plays with his right foot on the left-wing. Much like Martinelli, he looks like he should be a CF. Similar lightning acceleration.
I’ve also been wondering if we need to find a friend for Pepe to get the best out of Pepe. Leao and Pepe had an excellent partnership at Lille.
Others in this category…. Sane (City), Rebic (AC Milan), Traore (Wolves), Hee Chang Hwan (Salzburg)
The hidden superstar
Name: Josef Martinez
Height: 5ft 7
Club: Atlanta Utd
Potential fee: 35M
About: I’m not sure if I’d go for JM as a first choice as that is a big gamble.
I will say this though… I’d definitely get him as a back up at CF for Arsenal. A Lacazette replacement. Definitely.
Before you discount the fact that he is an MLS player understand that the standard is better than you may think. In a league where Zlatan had his way, Josef Martinez scored 31 to Zlatan’s 32.
A diminutive dynamo. Quick, beautiful feet, elusive movement and ice cool in front of goal.
For his height he is extremely good in the air.
Martinez would not be intimidated by playing in front of big, noisy, passionate fans either. I’ve been to see Atl. Utd three times in their world class 70,000 maxed out modern Mercedes-Benz stadium.
If it helps, his stature and style is most similar to Sergio Aguero and Lautaro Martinez.
If you are going to watch only one of these videos, watch this one.
Others in this category…. Jan Fiete-Arp (Bayern Munich), Odsonne Edouard (Celtic), Myron Boadu (AZ Alkmaar, Gian-Luca Waldschmidt (Freiburg)
Name: Kevin Volland
Position: Flexible forward
Height: 5ft 10
Club: Bayer Leverkusen
Potential fee: 22M
About: It makes good sense that Arsenal have been linked to Kevin Volland. A versatile forward who has player all across the front line and seems to be equally comfortable in all three areas. A modern day pressing trigger with a fine left foot. A barrel-chested, strong and quick striker. Been in and out of the German squad.
Others in this category…. Dries Mertens (Napoli), Donyell Malen (PSV, former Arsenal)
The available ones
Name: Krystof Piatek
Club: AC Milan
Potential fee: 30M or possible loan
About: A risk as he’s gone off form this season but last season he was one of the fire strikers in Europe. The perfect build for a CF.
I see a very possible short term loan situation as Ibrahimovic waltzes in the door at AC Milan.
Piatek, if he worked out, could really add to Arsenal. His willingness to come on loan (he’s a Gooner) would add to his desire, but it’s his aerial ability and his age that is most appealing. Arsenal have almost zero aerial threat unless Martinelli is in the box and sure need help at defending set-plays too, as we tend to only have 3 on the field that are able to help. His age (24) is perfect for the upside of resale and years of service.
Piatek is a little of everything.
Two footed, fantastic deceptive Van Persiesque movement coupled with willing and able link play.
He will be highly motivated to play these last three months or he will sit the bench at the Euro’s and watch Lewandowski and/or Milik.
Only risk I see is recovering his form.
Name: Paco Alcacer
Height: 5ft 9
Potential fee: 20M
About: Paco Alcacer wasn’t on my list to profile. He was in the short list below. I then saw that Haland has signed for Dortmund and looked at who was going to be expendable. Reus has always seemed like an Arsenal player but he’s club captain and at a better team. By the time you read this, Alcacer could be on his way to A. Madrid. That’s fine. We can have Cavani 🙂
Alcacer has had a weird career of late. Made choices that others looking on knew would see him be an impact sub and little more. The thing is though, he is one of the best in Europe at this role. Who doesn’t want that type in your squad?
A hungry, energetic, diminutive striker who is as clinical as the best (goals per minutes played). Quick and capable of scoring from anywhere including set plays. A club that trusts him could get a treat as I don’t think he’s been trusted at Barca and BD and he’s probably hungry. A potential bargain too.
Name: Luka Jovic
Height: 5ft 11
Club: Real Madrid
Potential fee: £35M or possible loan
About: In short, the right-footed version of Piatek. On fire last season in a highly successful front line at Frankfurt but was tempted by Real and took the chance when most saw his chances as limited. Capable and proven at scoring with both feet as well as aerially. High-level acceleration too. Nightmare for defenders as he adds pressing as a weapon to aggravate.
Most interesting part of his game is when watching him attack crosses. Most CF’s hit the six yard box. Jovic has a tendency to delay his runs and attack the space between the defensive lines.
Again, like Piatek, a short term loan leading to a possible transfer could prove to be valuable acquisition for Arsenal. Real Madrid are the least shy club in world football at buying the in vogue player, sitting him on the bench after losing patience after 3 minutes, selling and doing the same again. Clubs like Arsenal can benefit from their impatience.
Others in this category….Kevin Gameiro (Sevilla), Junior Morares (Shaktar Donetsk), Mariano Diaz (Real Madrid), Angel Correa (A. Madrid)
I’m less concerned than others at PEA dropping off physically in his 30’s. He’s rapid and not slowing down it seems and he’s already 30. I’d offer him another contract.
I’d sell Lacazette to raise money to buy N’didi.
If Auba leaves, I’d initially go for Edinson Cavani. Been a goal scoring machine everywhere.
I think we’ve missed out on him so I’d go for Adama Traore and convert him to a striker. Frightening player.
If both leave I’d sign Josef Martinez too.
It was hard to ignore Rafael Leao as he is going to the top. He will end up at Wolves with the rest of the Portugal national team.
Arsenal will go for…
I think the first round of big money goes on a CB and a midfielder, so I think if Lacazette leaves in January, Arsenal will go for Arsenal fan, Kysysztof Piatek, on loan from AC Milan who will be surplus to the ego of Zlatan.
I just don’t think it’s smart to sell Aubameyang as we’d be in the relegation zone without his goals and I feel sure Arsenal feel the same way.
In the summer I see Arteta wanting the type of forward that City had so I see Arsenal trying to tempt Gabriel Jesus.
Check out my review blog ‘Positives, Needs and Hopes’ @mike_mmcdonald after every Arsenal game!
Tell me who YOU would sign in the comments.