How Arsenal must wish they had not let Harry Kane slip away as a youngster.
The 22-year-old’s opening goal and performance in the North London Derby on Sunday afternoon was a severe contrast to that of Olivier Giroud, who showed the Gunners they still remain short of a clinical striker if they are to win the Premier League title.
For all of Theo Walcott’s pace and guile he remains a better winger than forward, whilst even the return of Danny Welbeck from injury in the New Year will not represent a significant upgrade on their current attacking spearheads.
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Social media went into a frenzy when pictures of an 11-year-old Kane in an Arsenal shirt went viral but, unfortunately for Gunners fans, it’s an image unlikely to ever be recreated.
The England international was criticised for his failure to start the season firing on all cylinders but, after scoring six goals in his last four matches, the form of his last campaign looks to have finally returned.
He bagged 31 goals across all competitions last term, more than previous heroes Dimitar Berbatov and Gareth Bale could ever manage, which prompted widespread rumours of a shock summer move to Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United.
However, his decision to remain at White Hart Lane has proved to be the right one, with his sixth league goal of the season helping Mauricio Pochettino’s men leave the Emirates Stadium with their 11-game unbeaten run intact.
Injuries may be hampering Arsenal’s bid to end their 12-year wait for a league crown but Arsene Wenger’s failure to invest in a new forward is a decision now thrust firmly into the spotlight.
Giroud can be an enigma, some days hot and others cold, but despite all of his efforts he will never be a striker made from the same mould as either Thierry Henry or Robin van Persie.
Walcott, meanwhile, started the season electrically but, like Giroud and Welbeck, struggles with injuries and consistency. Though he has talent, Walcott has never quite become the player many imagined him to be during his early days with Southampton.
Wenger will never admit it but, if the trophy cabinet in the Emirates Stadium goes another year without a Premier League title, he will cop much of the flack. There are a shortage of good strikers available but, as United proved with Anthony Martial, they can definitely be snared for the right price.
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