Have Arsenal missed out by not signing Kevin Gameiro?
Arsenal have been looking to sign a striker since the season ended, but they have failed in their attempts to date. It is a tough market, as clubs with quality strikers are reluctant sellers as is evidenced by Arsenal’s chase for Alexandre Lacazette. The Gonzalo Higuain transfer shows how expensive the market is and it is not surprising that Arsene Wenger has yet to sign a forward.
Over the weekend, another high profile forward was on the move as Kevin Gameiro joined Atletico Madrid from Sevilla. He hasn’t been mentioned when Arsenal striking targets have been discussed, but the Frenchman could have been a great fit at the Emirates Stadium. Arsene Wenger will know a lot about Gameiro, and it is perhaps surprising that he didn’t try to compete with Atletico.
There are doubts about the forward including his age. He is 29 and could only have another one or two seasons at his peak. Also, he was deemed surplus to requirements at PSG after a short spell at the club, suggesting that he wasn’t a great fit at the very top level. However, his goal-scoring record has been great wherever he has been and he will see the move to Atletico as an opportunity to prove that he has been underrated throughout his career.
Last season, Gameiro scored 29 goals in all competitions, helping Sevilla clinch their third successive Europa League crown. He has played a major role in all three, which shows his big match mentality. In the final against Liverpool, the Frenchman scored the equaliser just after half time and was one of the better performers over the 90 minutes.
There are a lot of good parts to Gameiro’s game, but his consistency is the most impressive. Although he does go through bad runs in front of goal like every other striker, he never stops getting into the right positions. His movement and positioning in the final third mark him as one of the best in world football. At Atletico, he will be playing in a better side and partnering Antoine Griezmann, it could be a deadly front two.
Arsenal continue to look at Alexandre Lacazette and Mauro Icardi as options to strengthen their striking options. Neither have proven themselves as much as Gameiro has done and the Frenchman was available for a reasonable fee believed to be around £27 million. Considering the figures mentioned for Lacazette and Icardi, this was a steal from Atletico.
The former Sevilla forward is excellent at keeping possession of the ball and his upper body strength allows him to hold it up well, despite his size. Gameiro is a good technical player, capable of passing well and creating opportunities for his team-mates.
He may not be as effective as Olivier Giroud at holding up the ball and is significantly worse in the air, but the 29-year-old has a lot more to his game. Gameiro is much more complete than Giroud on the ball. He can beat players on the dribble with his quick burst of acceleration, play key passes that open up defences and score all kinds of goals. Perhaps most importantly, Gameiro is a more accomplished finisher than Giroud and does not waste as many key opportunities.
Arsene Wenger is determined to sign a striker this summer to compete with Giroud, as he realises the weaknesses in his striker’s game. Giroud is a second tier striker, who will always score around 15 league goals a season, but is not clinical enough to lead a side like Arsenal to trophies. This is why a move for Gameiro should have been considered, as he scored 17 goals across three Europa League triumphs at Sevilla and played a vital role in each.
Ultimately, Gameiro may not have been considered, because they did not think they could attract him to the club. Barcelona and Atletico were interested in him and both clubs are way above where Arsenal are at the moment. They both challenge for the Champions League consistently and have aspirations of winning La Liga too. In contrast, Arsenal have failed to put together a serious challenge for either the Premier League or Champions League in years. The Premier League may have more money than La Liga overall, but the top three clubs in Spain are far ahead when it comes to attracting the world’s best players.
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