First up on the latest Arsenal round-up, after Granit Xhaka was officially confirmed as an Arsenal player this week, Arsene Wenger begins his search for a new striker.
One man who has made it clear he wants a move is Everton’s Romelu Lukaku. Following back-to-back mediocre mid-table finishes, Everton are struggling to convince the Belgian that they can deliver the top level football he desires.
Totaling 61 goals in 127 games on Merseyside, Lukaku has come on leaps and bounds as a striker since being brought in from the cold at Chelsea. He is one of Europe’s most promising front-men and is a proven Premier League poacher with all the capabilities to make it at the highest level of club football.
Seeing as Everton forked out a club record £28 million for him, he would not be cheap, but a move to Arsenal makes sense. Fast, strong and an eye for goal, a partnership with Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez could be deadly. Theo Walcott has been a striking option in past seasons for Arsenal, but not only has he never affirmed a regular striking spot, he has often been hit by injury or been frustratingly inconsistent.
Scoring 18 goals compared to Giroud’s 16 and Walcott’s five, he is improving his goal tally and consistency, something Arsenal’s strikers have been accused of faltering in. He also has six assists; equal to Giroud, so being six years younger than the Frenchman presents what could be an ideal investment for Wenger.
However, it may only take shape if Arsenal fail to land their number one striker target, Alvaro Morata. It has been rumoured all week that Morata’s agent has been in Madrid to discuss a deal in taking the Spaniard back home, but to be used to as an auction item, which Arsenal are firmly interested in. Scoring in a Champions League semi and the final itself last year for Juventus, and furthermore bagging the winner in this season’s Coppa Italia, proves he is a man for the big occasion. So, even if his goal tally isn’t as prolific as most, he will improve and already shows calmness under pressure.
Morata has failed to comment on any potential move, but it looks inevitable that Madrid will take him back to generate a profitable sell-on value. Arsenal’s interest has been made known as they look to beat PSG and Chelsea to his signature. A £38 million price tag has been placed on him but the Gunners seem willing to oblige. Yet, any deal looks to happen after the Euros with Morata on Spanish duty.
Elsewhere, Arsenal are looking to recruit another young defender in Bolton’s Rob Holding. Holding has become a starter for Wanderers with 26 games under his belt, making an average of three blocks a game and winning almost half his aerial duels. After bringing in Calum Chambers two seasons ago and witnessing Hector Bellerin’s emergence, Wenger seems persistent with establishing his youth options. Their initial £750,000 was emphatically rejected with Bolton’s valuation at near £4 million.
A £1.2 million bid has been placed now by Arsenal as they look to negotiate a fair deal for the 20 year-old who has just one year left on his current contract at The Reebok. Holding is seen as a future first-team player, with Chambers, Bellerin and Isaac Hayden all also being lined up as potential options in the starting eleven. Now in League 1, Bolton could use a financial boost, so selling a young prospect for that fee could do them just as much good as it would to Arsenal’s defensive choices.
Whilst they look at bringing in defenders, Arsenal will hope a tug of war for Bellerin doesn’t develop. It has been revealed that Dani Alves could be leaving Barcelona this summer, so if he does it would not be surprising to see former Barca youth player Bellerin already eyed to fill his spot. Named in the Premier League Team of the Season, the 21-year-old has made rapid progress and has continued to build his reputation in North London.
As seen with Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique, the call of Catalans can be too much to resist, but staying at Arsenal assures Bellerin of first team football and stability which he is forming at The Emirates, it’s likely he’ll be with Arsenal come the start of the new season.
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