Tactical Pros and Cons of Arsenal Signing Striker Loic Remy

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistMay 6, 2013

READING, ENGLAND - APRIL 28:  Loic Remy of Queens Park Rangers in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Reading and Queens Park Rangers at the Madejski Stadium on April 28, 2013 in Reading, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Arsenal have already been linked with moves for a host of players in the forthcoming summer transfer window, despite the current Premier League season not even having been fully decided yet. Since there is a good chance that their targets and options within the market will be affected by whether they have Champions League football on offer or not, it is difficult to say with certainty which players they will really be looking at.

One player who continually crops up with his name next to Arsenal in the gossip columns, though, is Queens Park Rangers forward Loic Remy, who has just been relegated with his side from the top flight after joining in January.

A release clause is reported to mean that Arsenal will sign him for only £6 million, with QPR having seen their top-flight stay ended (via Mirror Football).

There are tactical considerations, though, to look at before determining whether or not Remy would be a good fit for the Gunners, despite the appealing price tag.


Fast and Direct

Remy has already proven himself in England, at least in the short term, having notched five goals in 12 games since signing for QPR in January. There is a clear pattern to how he has proven effective for the Hoops, and in how they have looked to get the best out of him as they looked to avoid the drop.

The French forward has been most dangerous when running directly toward goal down the inside-right channel of the attack, giving Arsenal a direct and rapid target to hit with through-balls from the midfield zones.

For the Gunners, this has to be both a positive and a negative. It's definitely effective, and with the likes of Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky, they have the players who can play those passes from deep, so they would definitely get the benefit of Remy's athleticism and pace. On the other hand, they also have the likes of Theo Walcott (right), Lukas Podolski (left) and Gervinho (either flank), all of whom attack in a very similar manner.

So although it is a proven technique of Arsenal's, it's not perhaps bringing anything new to the table.


Interchanging positions

What it does offer Arsene Wenger and his team is the possibility to interchange positions within the starting XI.

If, for example, Remy was to start up front with Walcott to his right, the two could easily interchange their roles mid-play, one covering for the other defensively and utilising the space the other leaves offensively.

At present, it might need a substitute to be used for Wenger to get that sort of rotation within his attacking lineup. Remy offers the versatility and the similarity to some of the existing squad members to perhaps help get the most out of them rather than merely competing with them for a starting place.

With Walcott known to want to play central more often, this could be an interesting compromise and show of tactical flexibility from both coach and playing staff.


In with the New, Out with Giroud

Playing just as an out-and-out striker, Remy is much more the mobile predator in the box than the current starting forward for Arsenal, Olivier Giroud. While he has managed 11 league goals this season, he's hardly been the raging success that was hoped for to replace Robin van Persie. The Gunners ideally want someone who can hit between 15 and 20 league goals as a minimum.

While Giroud offers an aerial threat, has good upper-body strength and can link up play in deeper areas of attack, to an extent at least, he doesn't offer the same explosive pace that Remy would be able to.

It might not be the most important facet of play, but it is certainly a good alternative for Wenger to be able to call on without meaning that Walcott has to abandon his post on the flank to make up for Giroud's lack of mobility.


Gain in One area, Lose Out Elsewhere

Of course, everything is a balancing act, and as mentioned above, what you gain with a vertical threat in employing Remy as a centre-forward, you would almost certainly lose in close-range link-up play in midfield.

Remy is not a creator or a technically gifted deep forward. He would not be at his most appreciated dropping off to knock a first-time pass into the feet of Santi Cazorla, getting it back and laying it off the opposite way to Jack Wilshere, creating five yards of space behind himself for a wide forward to run into.

He would also not be enormously likely to offer Arsenal an extra man in midfield when some of their deeper players made a quick break to join the attack; instead, he would look to make use of the greater numbers heading forward to encourage play to be more direct and quicker.

It's not a matter of right or wrong, better or worse—with any of the reasons detailed, indeed—but of taking into account that this would not suit Arsenal's approach to every match situation.

On the other hand, they have already seen that with Giroud starting almost 25 of their league games this season, the present method of attack hasn't worked to a good enough extent to justify pursuing the present plan of attack, either.



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