The PERFECT Striker For Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal to Sign in the Summer
Under Mikel Arteta Arsenal are on the up. The Spaniard has cleared a lot of the deadwood, refreshed the entire defensive unit and created a well organised structure both with and without the ball. What’s more is he’s done all of that whilst drastically reducing the average age of the starting eleven. Despite that there is one position that needs a long term upgrade and that’s at centre forward. During his reign Arteta has largely favoured Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as his starting striker but with his departure to Barcelona in January, Arteta has had to turn to Alexandre Lacazette. Two very different centre forwards – Aubameyang is more of a mobile advanced forward that stays on the last line and uses his pace to break in behind the defence.
Meanwhile, Lacazette is more of a deep-lying forward or false 9 who prefers to drop off the line to get on the ball. As much as he wasn’t first choice, Arsenal have been much better with Lacazette than Aubameyang this season.
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So why is this the case? First and foremost, a false 9 suits Arteta’s style of play. Preferring a form of vertical tiki taka where his side dominates possession, controlling the middle of the pitch is extremely important. The three midfielders in a 4-3-3 offers numerical superiority against most systems but the addition of a fourth from a striker dropping off the line creates a passing diamond which is a lot harder to deal with. Using Lacazette in this manner gives control to Arteta. The problem however is that it seems Lacazette wants to leave the club. With his contract expiring in the summer and little intent to renew, signing a new long-term striker in a similar mould to Lacazette should be a priority.
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There are lots of options out there. Arsenal could sign a physical target man like Duvan Zapata. Alternatively, Arsenal could sign a deep-lying forward. More of a playmaking striker, think of Harry Kane or Wayne Rooney. This type of striker drops into pockets of space to receive before turning and creating for teammates. Similar to a target man, deep-lying forwards prefer passes to feet and their game relies more on technical ability than outstanding physicals. The Gunners could also sign a false 9. Lionel Messi under Pep Guardiola personified this role. Disrupting the defensive line by dropping off the line to receive and dragging a defender with them, false 9s create gaps and space for wingers to attack. Often false 9s are created by playing creative wingers or number 10s as centre forwards as their personal play style will see them drop deep to get on the ball and overload the midfield. There’s also second strikers, centre forwards that have found success playing in a front two. Second strikers can struggle when playing as a lone forward if they’re not supported but they can improve with time.
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So with the options covered, who should Arsenal sign? If it were up to me I think Arsenal should go all in for Jonathan David.
But anyway guys what do you think? What kind of striker should Arsenal sign in the summer and who would you try to get? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
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