Roman Pavlyuchenko looks certain to leave the club in January, the player has slipped to fourth choice and there is no sign of him being given more opportunities despite Robbie Keane’s loss of form. Meanwhile, on the other side of North London Arsene Wenger has made it known that he is on the lookout for a new striker; injuries to Robin van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner combined with Eduardo’s loss of form have forced Wenger back into the transfer market. Pavlyuchenko has been linked with the likes of Spartak Moscow, Roma and Liverpool in recent weeks, but a move to the Emirates would certainly be the most sensational.
Arsenal fans may baulk at the idea of signing the Russian, the prospect of a player who cannot get into the Tottenham team arriving to solve their striker crisis would probably make some fans of the Gunners physically sick. But provided he is available for the right price, Pavlyuchenko could be a really good fit for Arsenal. Though he has failed to establish himself at Spurs it should not be forgotten that he was one of the standout performers at Euro 2008 and commanded a fee of £14million a little over 15 months ago. He has an impressive record of 15 goals in 31 international appearances for Russia; add to his goalscoring potential the fact that he is a physically imposing target-man and you start to see that Arsenal could do with him.
At present Arsenal are having to play Andrey Arshavin as a lone striker, he has performed admirably but without a proper striker to link up with, Arsenal’s play is disjointed. Against Liverpool Arshavin was unable to hold the ball up effectively, this is not a criticism of him, he is a wonderful player whose talents lie elsewhere, but Arsenal struggled to control possession th way they normally do as a result of this. Arshavin himself has pointed out Arsenal’s need for a dominating presence up front and while Pavlyuchenko has his critics, he holds the ball up well and his height would give Wenger’s team another dimension. Not to mention the fact that playing with his international teammate could help to bring the best out of the rangy Russian.
Arsenal have an abundance of talented ball-playing midfielders, currently what they lack is a strong target-man to finish off the moves and provide a different option when they are under pressure; Bendtner is a talent but it may asking too much of the young Dane to carry the side for the rest of the season; bringing in a player from Spurs would be a risky move, but Pavluchenko could provide the answer to Wenger’s striking dilemma.