Arsenal need to add a goalscoring midfielder after their capture of French international Olivier Giroud. The deal for the former Montpellier frontman was confirmed by Arsenal.com earlier today and means the Gunners must find alternative ways to support a different kind of striker.
Giroud's game is based on aerial prowess. His powerful heading ability and natural strength make Giroud a useful outlet in the attacking third when the passing lanes become clogged in midfield.
However, to take true advantage of Giroud's aerial talents and ability to hold the ball up, Arsenal need a midfielder proficient at finding the net. Giroud is a creative target man in the box, and his knockdowns and layoffs can provide plenty of chances for grateful midfielders.
However, Arsenal don't currently possess a prolific scorer from midfield. Alex Song and Mikel Arteta play too deep to regularly be a threat in and around the box. Although Jack Wilshere played in a more advanced role at youth and reserve levels, he has not yet demonstrated credible scoring potential in the first team.
Having been injured for so long, it would be too much to thrust Wilshere into a new role, especially one of such importance and have to rely on him for double-digit goals. The same can be said of Abou Diaby. The Frenchman is arguably the closest thing to a natural goalscorer in Arsenal's midfield ranks. Yet injuries continue to torment the talented but brittle 26-year-old.
Tomas Rosicky and Aaron Ramsey currently occupy the most advanced role in Arsenal's midfield trio but similar question marks surround both. The jury is still out on which way Ramsey's development will go after his horrific leg break suffered in February of 2010.
Rosicky has had more than his share of fitness issues, and the 31-year-old's goal output has certainly diminished. His accuracy in front of goal is very inconsistent, and the Czech playmaker often fails to take advantage of the promising positions he gets into.
Arsenal have enough players to maintain possession and create chances. Both Song and Arteta can exploit gaps through the middle and release overlapping full-backs and wide forwards to provide a cross for Giroud.
What the Gunners need to complete their summer revamp is a player who can be relied upon to break double figures in goals from midfield. That kind of haul would ease the pressure on the forward line and be particularly useful against teams content to defend deep in numbers and blanket the initial attack.