Chamakh v Balotelli v Huntelaar – who is the man to fill van Persie’s shoes?

400x400_MarouaneChamakhNewOne thing that was clear for Arsene Wenger in Arsenal’s Premiership defeat to Chelsea at the Emirates was that they are desperately short of a centre forward. The loss of Dutchman Robin van Persie could hit the Gunners hard and Wenger must now seriously consider bringing in a striker in the January transfer window. Buying players mid season is not ideal, but desperate times call for desperate measures and Arsenal will struggle if they don’t acquire another significant source of goals. But who should Wenger go after?

The injury to van Persie has inevitably led to Arsenal being linked with a number of strikers in recent days and some players will appeal to Arsenal fans more than others. No replacement for Emmanuel Adebayor has been brought in since the Togo international was sold to Manchester City in the summer but surely now is the time to delve into the market. Wenger said in The Guardian that “we will be in the market, that is for sure,” so the Frenchman is likely to be a busy man in January. There are many options out there for Wenger and some early contenders have already been identified as potential signings for the Gunners.

Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh has been on Wenger’s radar previously, and the Moroccan has regularly stated his desire to leave Le Championnat. Chamakh currently looks the most likely option and he could be the target man that Arsenal are seeking, as the Moroccan is strong in the air and would also fit into the Gunners’ style of play as he is a skilful striker as well. With the Bordeaux striker in the last year of his contract, a move in the summer may be more likely, but Wenger may be tempted to make a cheeky bid for him in January.

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Inter striker Mario Balotelli has been highlighted as a potential star of world football in the future and the 19 year old is certainly a player that Wenger could work his magic on. The Italian forward is currently out of favour with Inter manager Jose Mourinho and may be available, however the £20 million price tag that is being banded around is bound to put Wenger off. Balotelli’s pace and strength would be a real asset for Arsenal, but for the money he would cost there are probably better value options out there.

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Maybe bringing another Dutch striker to The Emirates would be an attractive prospect for Wenger, and in Ruud van Nistelrooy and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar there are two quality options. Strikers at different stages in their careers, Nistelrooy would represent a short-term solution to Arsenal’s problem and the Real Madrid striker would guarantee goals although his susceptibility to injuries is a negative. Despite scoring goals at international level, Huntelaar is still something on an unknown entity outside of Holland and the Milan striker hasn’t hit it off in Serie A so would be a gamble.

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Elsewhere there are a couple of outside bets that might Wenger might well investigate. André-Pierre Gignac certainly knows how to hit the back of the net as the Toulouse striker scored 24 times last season to become Le Championnat’s top scorer. The Frenchman would also be keen to link up with his compatriot and seemed to step up a level last season. Sampdoria’s Giampaolo Pazzini is another possibility, but with reported interest from Chelsea amongst others and the 25 year old having only signed for Sampdoria in January, means that a deal looks unlikely.

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Out of the above who would you like to see pull on an Arsenal shirt next year, or would you prefer that Arsene Wenger set his sights on another striker? The problem Wenger faces is that everyone knows that the Gunners are in a need of a striker and therefore he will have to fork out for a big transfer fee to bring a world-class striker to the Emirates. But should Wenger just bite the bullet and pay for an established star, or will the Frenchman continue to look for youngsters with potential?