Schalke’s Klaas-Jan Huntelaar appeared to be an ideal January transfer target for Arsenal in January, but his rumored move to the Emirates was too good to be true, and the Gunners now must explore other options.
Huntelaar is a productive and experienced goal-scorer who would have come cheaply due to his expiring contract, but Sky Sports’ Peter O’Rourke reported, “Arsenal target Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has ended speculation over his future by signing a new deal at Bundesliga side Schalke.”
With little help behind Olivier Giroud, Arsene Wenger will look to bring in attacking reinforcements after New Year’s Day, and there are several other viable targets.
Here are the strikers Arsenal should chase in January.
David Villa, Barcelona
Even though Villa has struggled to get onto the pitch this season for Barcelona, the 31-year-old has made the most of his opportunities. He has five goals and an assist while making six La Liga starts and six appearances as a substitute.
He still has productive years left and his experience and versatility make him an excellent target.
Villa is likely displeased with the amount of time he has spent watching his Barça teammates instead of helping them, and The Daily Mail’s Sami Mokbel reported that the Gunners are looking to take advantage of the situation and bring the Spanish striker to England.
Adding a savvy centre-forward who is able to be effective on either wing would greatly help Arsenal in the second half of the season.
Adrian Lopez, Atletico Madrid
As Matt Law of The Daily Mirror notes, Lopez is a remarkably similar player to Villa, and the Atletico Madrid attacker also has the ability to play down the center or along the sideline.
While Lopez’ striking partner Radamel Falcao is the true prize this January, his prize tag will likely be exorbitant enough to draw a signature scowl from Wenger when the Colombian make his multi-million pound move.
The long-time Gunners manager must decide whether he values the 24-year-old Lopez’s potential over Villa’s ability to immediately contribute upon arriving in London.
Villa would likely help Arsenal more than Lopez this season, but his age and ability to continue playing at a high level going forward may make it difficult for Wenger to justify the £12 million transfer fee (as noted by Law).
Demba Ba, Newcastle
Without a new deal at Newcastle, Ba seems destined to leave his current club in January, and as The Daily Mail’s Matt Fortune notes, the striker has expressed his admiration for Arsenal.
The Senegalese centre-forward already has 11 league goals this season. He has vast experience battling with Premiership defenders, and he would be able to hit the ground running at the Emirates.
Fortune points out that the release clause in Ba’s contract is £7.5 million, and he would be one of the least expensive options, while also being one of the most productive.
Ba would likely enjoy a move away from struggling Newcastle, and the Gunners would be thrilled to have him leading their attack.