On July 4, 2012, Robin van Persie released an infamous statement on his website which virtually threw Arsenal into a state of disillusion.
With the tight budget available to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger at the time, it was obvious that Arsenal’s talismanic striker Van Persie would not be adequately replaced if he was eventually sold.
Arsenal may have envisaged Van Persie’s exit and acted proactively by signing Germany international striker Lukas Podolski before the end of the 2011/12 season. They followed it up with the signing of French striker Olivier Giroud, who had just won the French Ligue 1 title with Montpellier, ending the season as top scorer.
According to the Arsenal's official website, Giroud and Podolski combined to score a total of 33 goals for Arsenal last season and this was four goals shy of the 37 goals Van Persie scored for Arsenal in his final season at the club.
Van Persie, who would go on to score a total of 30 goals for Manchester United with 26 in the league, as United stormed to their 20 league title.
After the dramatic final day of last season when Arsenal narrowly secured the final Champions League position, it became clear that Van Persie had not been adequately replaced by Arsenal and a proven world-class striker at the top of his game would be required at Arsenal if they really meant to have a shot at the title in the 2013/14 season.
According to various media outlets including BBC Sport and the Mirror, Arsenal chief executive officer Ivan Gazidis revealed that Arsenal were now in a healthy financial state. He stated that the club could now afford to spend a £20m transfer fee on a single player, and offer salaries of £200,000 per week and over.
With these funds available, it is no surprise that Arsenal are beginning to try to flex their financial muscle in the transfer market. Lately, media reports have linked Arsenal with a flurry of big name players. Goal.com understands that Arsenal have activated the release clause in Marouane Fellaini’s contract at Everton, while the Mirror reported that Gonzalo Higuain had agreed a move to Arsenal.
One name that has been linked with a move to Arsenal clearly stands out - and that is Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.
According to BBC Sport and the Telegraph, Arsenal have already had a bid of £30m for Suarez turned down by Liverpool and it remains to be seen if they will return with an improved offer considering Liverpool’s reluctance to lose their top striker.
Suarez is a player at the peak of his powers and is certainly one of the best strikers in the Premier League and in world football. He is just the calibre of striker Arsenal need to effectively rest the ghosts of Van Persie.
He is really the complete package: good with both feet, comfortable with his head, lethal from set pieces, very skilful and most importantly, will easily fit into the free flowing football ethos that has been enshrined at Arsenal by Wenger.
Arsenal have always had technically gifted strikers in Wenger’s time at the club, with Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry quickly coming to mind, and these were players that could turn games around with a piece of individual brilliance, something Suarez does regularly for Liverpool.
Suarez has had a highly controversial time in England, firstly with the Patrice Evra racial abuse case and then the biting incident involving Branislav Ivanovic, and these events have smeared his reputation in the country.
Wenger needs to weigh the pros and cons of signing Suarez, and although one of the cons would be the non-availability of Suarez for the first six games of the new season, I still think the pros far outweigh the cons because Arsenal would be getting a world-class forward at the peak of his powers.
It is time to show ambition Arsenal, it is time to spend the money. Luis Suarez seems to be the missing piece in the Arsenal puzzle and it's time that puzzle is solved.
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