Arsene Wenger could use Chuba Akpom as main striker v Liverpool

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Football News

Arsene Wenger has told Chuba Akpom he will not be allowed to leave Arsenal on loan, instead urging him to stake his claim to start up front against Liverpool next weekend, reports The Telegraph.

The 20-year-old has been impressive in Arsenal's pre-season thus far, scoring in both games on their recent US tour. He is now set to be given another chance to prove his worth in Scandinavia.

Arsenal play Viking FK in Norway on Friday and will then take on Premier League rivals Manchester City in Sweden. If Akpom can prove his quality against Pep Guardiola's men, he could well be in line for a call-up when the games start to mean something.

Wenger is facing something of a dilemma up front ahead of the season's curtain-raiser. Olivier Giroud is still on holiday following his Euro 2016 exploits and is unlikely to be fit for the game against Liverpool. With Danny Welbeck injured, it leaves just Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott to choose from.

Both players prefer to play out wide with the former regularly seen on the left and the latter recently admitting he had given up on his dream of playing centrally. In an ideal world. Wenger would select them both out wide with a new striker in the middle.

Failed transfers

However, transfer bids for Jamie Vardy and Alexandre Lacazette have fallen flat. Vardy rejected the chance to move to London earlier this summer while Lyon have made it clear they won't sell Lacazette. Arsenal could still return with an improved bid for the French striker but it is unlikely a deal will be struck before August 14.

So Akpom would be a convenient solution for Wenger. He is highly-rated by club coaches and played a big part in helping Hull City to Premier League promotion last season. Although used regularly by Steve Bruce, his return of nine goals is hardly indicative of a long-term fix for an ongoing problem at the Emirates.

He has, though, plenty of time on his hands to develop and any striker in the world would find scoring easier with creative forces of Sanchez, Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey on hand.

Defensive issues

There are similar issues in defence with Per Mertesacker suffering a serious knee injury and Laurent Koscielny on the same schedule as fellow Frenchman Giroud. Gabriel suffered from illness during Arsenal's pre-season tour so is also behind.

That leaves Calum Chambers and Rob Holding. The youngsters proved capable against the MLS All-Stars but facing Liverpool is going to be an entirely different matter.

Wenger is trying to negotiate a deal for Valencia's Shkodran Mustafi, who is believed to be valued at around £25m.

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Alexis Sanchez
Theo Walcott
Premier League
Arsene Wenger

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