Football

Max Kruse is Arsenal’s missing ingredient

Max Kruse would improve Arsenal substantially (©GettyImages)
Max Kruse would improve Arsenal substantially (©GettyImages).

With his side lying atop the league table, Arsene Wenger has engineered perhaps the most dynamic attack in the Barclays Premier League this season, parting way with an exorbitant sum of money to land German maestro, Mesut Özil.

With a successful transfer window under their belt, Arsenal has proceeded to mesmerise the football world with a series of displays that sees them ahead of competitors on domestic and European fronts, including an incisive display against Napoli, a team billed as Champions League contenders.

Olivier Giroud seems to have recaptured the form that saw him net 21 goals en route to Montpellier’s first ever league title, a stunning season that prompted Wenger to pull the French striker to the Emirates.

However, with a glass-half-empty approach to the squad list, the forward line appears precariously thin. Should Giroud succumb to injury, who will step up to lead the line?

And therein lies the problem.

Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski are out of the equation, as Wenger prefers to deploy them on the wing.

Is the injury-stricken 18-year-old Yaya Sanogo primed to lead Arsenal to Premier League and Champions League glory? Unlikely.

Arsene Wenger would be wise to fortify his frontline with Max Kruse in January.

The 25-year-old striker has enjoyed an intrinsic role in Gladbach this season, with eight direct goal involvements (goals or assists), only bettered by Roberto Firmirno (flattered by his two-goal three-assist game against Hamburger) and Sidney Sam in the Bundesliga.

Kruse is an incredibly mobile deep-lying forward with a penchant for a pass. His capacious vision on the field extricates him from your orthodox run-of-the-mill striker.

Read this: He has produced a staggering 34 goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates in league-play. That’s more than Messi (13), Ibrahimovic (18), Neymar (13) and Ribery (23), all of whom have played eight or nine league games.

The uncelebrated Max Kruse surpasses them all.

The above comparison screams of a supremely talented individual unable to fully realise his potential due to the limitations imposed upon him as a result of playing for Gladbach, a good club, rather than a Dortmund, a great club.

And the Gladbach star is hardly a one-season wonder. Last season saw him produce the same impressive totals he has been recording this season for Freiburg. 93 key passes for his teammates in league-play saw him produce more key chances than any other player in the league bar none, an impressive feat in Bayern’s treble-winning season.

In fact, when Kruse’s performances from 2012/13 are observed closely, it is noticeable that his statistics and game style impinge eerily similarly to that of Luis Suarez – a target pursued fervently by Arsenal themselves in the summer.

2012/13 league        Kruse       Suarez 

Key passes              2.7              2.7

Dribbles                    2.7              2.9

Dispossessed          2.1              2.8

Passes per game    38.4            36.5

One may argue for Suarez’s 23 goals in comparison with Kruse’s 11. However, that is to be expected considering Suarez’s wasteful 6 shots-per-goal against Kruse’s 3 shots-per-goal, as well as his eight assists compared to Suarez’s five.

Moreover, Kruse was forced to ply his trade at Freiburg, a mid-table German club, whereas Suarez prospered from a supply line consisting of Coutinho, Gerrard and Sterling amongst others.

The creative, quick-thinking, fancy-dribbling, 1.80 meter Max Kruse would provide an invaluable contrast to the tall and powerful Giroud, a coveted strike-force variety allowing Wenger to chop and change, thereby perplexing opponents with his tactical choices.

The versatile Kruse can play the role of an impact substitute, or cover for injuries on the wing – a position he is suitably comfortable in. No longer will Wenger have to shunt Ramsey or Wilshere out wide in an attempt to create some sort of presence out wide in the case of injuries (a tactical decision that invariably goes badly) with Max Kruse in the Gunners’ ranks.

Furthermore, the addition of Kruse will fit in coherently with the healthy developing German culture at the Emirates, a small contingent that includes Özil, Mertesacker, Podolksi, Gnabry, Zelalem and Eisfeld.

Howbeit, there is the small matter of persuading Gladbach to part with their star asset only months after his signing for the club. Any money thrown at the German outift for Kruse would be money well spent.

What the Gunners do have going for them in the matter is that Kruse, now aged 25, would perhaps be longing for a chance to establish himself at an elite European club before next year’s World Cup, in an attempt to surpass Gomez, Klose, Kießling amongst others and assume the first-choice striker mantle in Joachim Löw’s Germany squad.

So what Arsene Wenger could possibly have on his hands his essentially a statistically more efficient, younger Luis Suarez with a point to prove before next year’s World Cup without all the off-field controversies and issues.

For the sake of their title aspirations of domestic and European fronts, Arsenal would do well to secure Max Kruse in the coming transfer window.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Arsenal

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