Arsenal's offense has proven to be in dire need of a consistent offensive threat through the first few matches of this season, but unfortunately for the Gunners' faithful, potential target Adrian Lopez won't solve the problem.
Arsene Wenger certainly attempted to overhaul his attack last offseason to be more consistent and varied than it has been in years past, but all he's managed to do is find a group of strikers who are capable of scoring goals in bunches, but can't find the net on a consistent basis.
Fortunately for the Gunners, Wenger appears to have more cash to splash this winter than he's had at any other point in his tenure with the club.
According to a report from the Daily Mirror, the Arsenal boss has a budget of about £35 million to spend come January, and at the top of his wish list is a striker capable of consistently spearheading his otherwise potent attack.
Who does Wenger see as a potential candidate? Per the Daily Mirror report:
Early contenders are Atletico Madrid striker Adrian Lopez, a player who has already been scouted intensively by Arsenal spies. Athletic Bilbao forward Fernando Llorente is also highly-rated by Wenger. The Spain international is out of contract at the end of the season meaning he could be available at a cut-price fee.
While Llorente would be an excellent (and potent) option for the Gunners, he doesn't quite fit the bill of a Wenger signing. At 27 years old, he's a bit older than the players Arsenal typically chases, and if they can't convince Atletico Bilbao to sell at a discount, he's certainly too expensive even for Wenger's expanded budget.
That leaves Lopez, and everything about the 24-year-old striker screams disappointment for the Gunners. Unlike some other inconsistent scorers in Arsenal history (like recent signings Olivier Giroud, Gervinho and Lukas Podolski), Lopez hasn't found consistent success in his current league. He's never scored more than seven goals in a season at any point in his career, and while he certainly has the physical skills to shine, he hasn't channeled that into consistent, high-level production.
Frankly, there's no denying that Wenger needs some help up front. Gervinho has become an excellent clutch-time scorer, racking up three goals in six matches and looking much improved from last season's struggling form, but he's hardly what one would call trustworthy at the front.
Podolski has had moments of brilliance since joining the Gunners in the offseason, with four goals in all competitions, but Wenger doesn't seem to like to use him in a primary striking position. Giroud has quickly developed a reputation as a player capable of getting open, but has also shown a nasty habit of missing wide open chances.
But, how does adding another striker who lacks scoring touch solve that problem? How does Lopez fix what has been an offense with plenty of potential, but no consistent scorer to punch the ball in the net?
On top of that, Arsenal has much bigger issues than its front line. The defense has been absolutely atrocious at times, with Laurent Koscielny and Tomas Vermaelen showing about as much chemistry together on the back line as your average house plants. If Wenger is going to splash cash in the winter transfer window, he should shift his focus to finding a defender who doesn't let scorers through on a regular and consistent basis.
If Wenger is truly committed to spending more money on a striker, Fiorentina's Stevan Jovetic (who is also rumoured to be a potential target come January) would be a much better option up front. Apart from being younger than Lopez (22 compared to 24), he's also shown much better touch in front of goal, scoring 14 goals last season and five goals in seven matches this season.
Don't be surprised to see the Gunners give Lopez a long look, but if Wenger really wants to fix what ails his offense, he'll ultimately look elsewhere for a solution to his problem.
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