Schalke’s Klaas-Jan Huntelaar may be a bargain for one of Europe’s top clubs in January, but Arsenal is better off passing on the Dutch striker.
Huntelaar’s contract is up at the end of the season, and Schalke are interested in receiving some compensation before he leaves. But Horst Heldt, the German side’s coach, does not see a scenario in which his centre-forward ends up at the Emirates. Tony Little of the Sun quoted Heldt saying:
There have been no offers or any sign of Klaas-Jan leaving. If someone comes to us six months before the expiry date, and has a lot of money, we will deal with it. From Arsenal circles we hear there is no money anyway.
Due to Huntelaar’s expiring contract, Little notes that £6 million may be enough to sign the Dutchman. This is a fantastic price for a player who scored 29 goals a season ago.
It is difficult to believe that Heldt has an in-depth knowledge of Arsenal’s spending money for the January transfer window. But whether or not his conception of the club’s finances is accurate, the Gunners should avoid being tempted by Huntelaar’s reduced price.
Arsene Wenger has deservedly maintained a reputation for being frugal in the transfer market, and while this has often frustrated supporters, he has also avoided unnecessary losses on transfer fees due to his cautious approach.
Milan’s purchase is also an example of a failed transfer, as the centre-forward spent one disappointing season with the Rossoneri before the club let him leave to Schalke for a fee that was less than it paid for his services.
Schalke certainly got their money’s worth, as Huntelaar’s remarkable 2011-12 campaign helped them to a third-place finish and a Champions League spot for this season.
But his career has shown that he struggles when he is not a first-choice striker and the focal point of his team’s attack. He did not respond well to the competition for playing time in Madrid or Milan, but as a first-team regular with Schalke, he has flourished.
With the Gunners, he would likely be a second choice to Olivier Giroud after Arsenal invested £12 million in the Frenchman. At the very least, the two strikers would have an even split for time on the pitch.
Wenger should be concerned about signing Huntelaar, as he may end up as the lackluster player fans saw earlier in his career, not the goal-scoring dynamo of recent years.
In addition, the team would have to sign a 29-year-old player to a new contract, or risk paying £6 million for only half of a season. This would certainly not be in line with Wenger’s track record of shrewd spending.
Another reason to pass on Huntelaar is that bringing on another centre-forward would take time away from Theo Walcott at the position. Walcott has made it clear that his desire to stay at the Emirates heavily depends on seeing more time in the middle of the pitch.
While the reported transfer fee for Huntelaar may seem minuscule, the costs Arsenal risk incurring by signing him are simply too great. In January, they should stay away from the Dutch striker.
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