Football FanCast columnist Tristan Mann feels that Arsene Wenger should take a punt on Ruud van Nistelrooy.
After Sunday’s comprehensive defeat to an impressive Chelsea, Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, has confirmed that he will be using the January transfer window to sign a replacement for injured striker Robin Van Persie.
For a lot of Gunners fans, this will be the most welcome news since it was announced Emmanuel Adebayor was to leave the Emirates.
Following Van Persie rupturing ankle ligaments while playing in a friendly for Holland, Arsenal have gone down to two successive Premier League defeats. First to Sunderland, and then to Carlo Ancelotti’s team last weekend.
In both these matches, Wenger’s side have failed to score, and if truth be told, never really looked too much in danger of doing so. Van Persie has seven league goals so far this season, and without him Arsenal seem to be lacking a real cutting edge.
With Nicklas Bendtner also out injured, Andrey Arshavin often remains too much on the periphery of games, while Eduardo seems devoid of any sort of confidence at the moment.
It is presumably these reasons while Wenger has now said:
“Van Persie’s injury has to affect my thoughts for January. I didn’t feel we were needing to buy anybody but we will be out in the market, that is for sure.”
The announcement has sparked rumours over just who will be Van Persie’s replacement, but heading the list seem to be Bordeaux’s Marouane Chamakh and Real Madrid’s Ruud Van Nistelrooy.
The two players are quite different players. Chamakh has the pace and dribbling ability that Wenger already has in abundance in his squad. Added to that, his goal ratio of one in four games for Bordeaux is not that impressive.
Van Nistelrooy, on the other hand, more than proved himself in the Premier League when he played for Manchester United. His scoring ratios wherever he has been reflect the kind of predatory goal scorer that he is, and perhaps what Arsenal need more than anything.
On the face of it, buying Van Nistelrooy would be perfect for Arsenal and for the Dutch striker. Arsenal require a finisher to replace Van Persie, and his Dutch compatriot could be the perfect stop-gap until he is fit again.
What’s more, Van Nistelrooy is willing to leave the Bernabeu after slipping down the pecking order. He is now behind Benzema, Higuain and Raul, and he recognises he needs regular football to secure a place in the Dutch squad for the 2010 World Cup.
However, the one sticking point may be the ill feeling between the player and Arsenal. Following the infamous match between Manchester United and Arsenal back in 2003, relations between player and club seemed irreconcilable after the unsavoury scenes following Van Nistelrooy’s injury time penalty miss.
This is a big decision Wenger will have to make. But as is often the case, there is a good chance Wenger will opt against all logic and sign a player no one saw coming. Watch this space.
Read more of Tristan’s articles by viewing his BLOG here