We’re almost there, folks… the January transfer window! Not universally popular, the first month of every year kicks off with flurry of deals, goes quiet, then kicks back into life again as the clock ticks towards the deadline, and it seems that during every edition of this window Arsenal fans are left a little underwhelmed. Okay, Gabriel Paulista was a decent acquisition last time, but in 2014 a month of rooting around led to a loan move for an injured Kim Kallstrom. The Gunners subsequently fell out of the title race and into a battle for fourth.
There are some parallels between 2013/14 and 2015/16 it would seem, with Arsenal having started well while a major title rival wallows (Chelsea this season, the last time it was Manchester United). The door is ajar for a push it would seem, so maybe the Londoners should look back to the lesson they, hopefully, learnt and bolster an area of their squad that’s clearly deficient by buying a striker.
A £30m move for Inter Milan’s Argentine has been mooted, and even though the solidity of the claims made is unknown, Arsenal fans are, understandable, delighted. The 22-year-old has been talked about as one of Serie A’s top talents for the last 18 months, with his performances in a pretty average side at the San Siro having been standout.
Although he’s not yet scaled the highs of 2014/15, in which he netted 22 goals in 36 outings and fired more than three-shots-per-game, this time around Icardi is still Internazionale’s top scorer in league action with four goals and was named in the Team of the Week last time out for his performance in the 4-0 battering of Frosinone.
Think Luis Suarez-lite. Icardi has already been compared to his South American compatriot, and a quick glance at his playing style shows why. Not an orthodox centre-forward, the one-cap international is a flurry of energy and pressing, with his desire to run from the front often opening up space for team-mates. Some have suggested in the past that he’s not a natural finisher, but his record since leaving Barcelona’s youth set-up is pretty formidable.
Yes and no. In terms of being another option Icardi is ideal, with Arsene Wenger possessing only Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott as orthodox choices – although questions surrounding the latter’s best position rumble on. However, the Arsenal manager has shown a desire to operate with a more physically imposing forward through the years, and standing at 5ft. 11”, Icardi doesn’t really offer the same threat as Giroud or another former Wenger favourite, Emmanuel Adebayor.
£30m is steep for a player that may not directly fit Wenger’s set-up and is more comfortable working with a strike partner. This one looks like a long shot…
Stats via WhoScored