The answer to Arsenal’s hunt for a star striker: Create your own

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Football News

Arsenal fans have been crying out for years for this star striker who will propel them to Premier League and Champions League glory, however, simply put, 50-goal-a-season players are not that easy to find. In fact, most of them tend to be home-made.

Look at Cristiano Ronaldo. A fleet-footed winger in his time at Sporting Lisbon, no one could have predicted the player would turn into the free-scoring player he is today. His skills and pace on the wing were developed into an all-out attacking threat at Manchester United, and further developed at Real Madrid to become the 50-goal-a-season man that he is today. No shortage of time and belief was put into the player.

The same is true of Lionel Messi. Barcelona signed the ‘talent’ as a 13-year-old and invested their time and resources into the player to make him the world’s best player. He, like Ronaldo, was a dribbling winger. He is now an advanced forward, but he didn’t arrive at Barcelona that way, they made him what he is today.


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Then there is Thierry Henry, who is a similar tale. A winger who was not often a scorer, but was then turned into a centre-forward by Arsene Wenger and became one of the most feared strikers in Europe and Arsenal’s highest ever scoring player.

Players like this are not just found, they are made, and Arsenal fans need to recognise that they are part of the problem, not the solution.

Always demanding huge transfer fees to be paid for forwards who will not necessarily provide the goals they desperately want is a recipe for disaster. Look at Fernando Torres at Chelsea for example. What they should instead be looking for is to grow the talents they already have.

Who is to say that Alex Iwobi cannot be the best Nigerian player ever made? Surely his uncle, Nigerian legend Jay-Jay Okocha, would love nothing more than to see his nephew eclipse what he achieved.

With the right resources behind him, and playing time in the team, anything is possible for Iwobi. The 19-year-old is raw but powerful and he can learn the skills required to be a devastating centre-forward in the Premier League.

He already has all of the physical attributes, with two goals and two assists in his last four Premier League games, he’s shown he can score at this level. Plus it would not mean shelling out £50m on a forward who could potentially flop, like a Karim Benzema or an Edinson Cavani.

It’s clear that Theo Walcott has not reached the potential of Messi or Ronaldo, and that has disappointed Arsenal fans, but they must also recognise that maybe his potential was never as high as those players. Maybe Walcott has in fact reached his potential. From an earlier age if he was deployed more as a central striker maybe his goal-scoring figures would be more impressive.

Also, to discredit what Olivier Giroud has achieved in his time at Arsenal would be unfair on the French striker. He arrived at Arsenal as a 25-year-old, already probably learning everything he could by that age. He’s still managed 78 goals in 176 appearances for the Gunners. That’s not a bad total.

If Iwobi is not the answer, then Arsenal must look for the next try. There are players around Europe who are young, hungry and have frightening potential. Ousmane Dembele at Rennes is an example of a youngster who originally looks like a wide player but with the right food could turn into a devastating striker.

Arsenal might be better off investing £25m in a long-term project than spanking their bank and going for the quick-fire “win” which will eventually be a disaster both financially for the club and for the short-term performances of the team.

Football is a team game after all, and building the best team is what Arsenal fans should be focusing on, not signing a player just so they can have his name on the back of their shirts.

Should Arsenal be looking closer to home or spending big on a star striker? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!

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Thierry Henry
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