Along the years, Arsenal has been blessed with abundant talent at the striking role. They’ve made huge success in signing great strikers who can claim to be world class players in their era.
Starting from Wenger’s era where we had strikers like Nicolas Anelka, Wiltord, Ian Wright, Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Van Persie, Emmanuel Adebayor, etc.. The list goes on.
Most of the strikers are known for their pace, off the ball movements and their ability to create scoring chances for themselves, through their natural flair and skill set.
During 2012/2013 summer transfer, Olivier Giroud was signed from French Club Montpellier after he won the highest goal scorer with 21 league goals.
Giroud came with another dimension of play which consists the ability to hold-up-the ball with his back to goal, link-up play, flick passes and been the “target man” upfront due to his physical strength. Standing at 6ft 4in, his aerial prowess was second to none.
His ability to score out of nothing makes him one of the deadliest striker inside the opposition box…Were the fans used to this style of play? I guess not.
Giroud was usually criticised by the fans and media for lacking the pace and also lacking the ability to make darting runs behind the defenders (unlike his predecessors i.e Henry, Ian Wright etc).
Though Oli still managed to score an impressive 105 goals in 253 games for Arsenal. In January 2018, he left for Chelsea and the rest became an history.
Did Arsenal got a better replacement? Was it what they wished for?
Of course, the answer couldn’t be hard to say. In January 2018, during the winter transfer window, Arsenal did a shrewd business, by signing Aubameyang for then club record fee, reported to be around £56m, from Borussia Dortmund. A deadly striker with unbelievable goal record from the Bundesliga in Germany.
Aubameyang came with huge reputations and charisma. Finally, an Henry’s kind of player was signed.
His pace, off the ball movements and clinical finishing were glaring and instantly seen by the fans. He made good runs behind the defenders and gave the likes of Ozil and Mikhitarian avenue to pick out his runs by playing more through balls.
His relentless movements around the opposition defenders has been a nightmare to EPL defenders.
How far can he go?
His age doesn’t seem to be affecting him at the moment but at 30 years of age, the decline will obviously set in anytime soon. The English Premier League is a rigorous league that requires energy and pace. His age seems to be at a disadvantage but currently, his finishing isn’t slowing down nor the threat he possesses.
Extending his current deal might not be a good choice. Except Arsenal can convince him by inserting an option to be extending his deal with a yearly extension.
Getting a young top quality striker who can fill his void and have an instant impact on the team wouldn’t be an easy task as well.
Should Arsenal cash in on Aubameyang or extend his deal? – Or rather, should they put their fate on their Academy young strikers like Eddie Nketiah or the Brazilian gem Martinelli?
What a tough decision to be made by Arsenal’s management board.
Getting back to Champions league competition is definitely Arsenal’s priority and the services of top quality striker and club captain like Aubameyang for two or more seasons might boost their chances of getting back to the big stage of European football soon enough.
What decision will be the best option for the Club? Well keeping Aubameyang is something Arsenal should prioritize for arleast next couple of years while we let Nketiah and Martinelli develop into the talent they are admired to be.