Arsenal Should Not Move for Luis Suarez in January
All summer long, Arsenal fans waited to see who their new striker would be.
When the transfer window opened, there were tantalising links with Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic. Then stories began circulating about interest in Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain. Perhaps the greatest saga of Arsenal’s summer was their ill-fated move for Liverpool’s Suarez.
Last night, however, Arsenal got to see their new forward in the flesh: the all-too-familiar shape of Nicklas Bendtner.
After an absence of more than two years, Bendtner has returned to the first-team fold as backup for Olivier Giroud.
It’s a return borne of desperation. Bendtner himself knows that his career is approaching a critical point. After unsuccessful loan spells at Sunderland and Juventus, this could be his last chance to make an impression with an elite club.
Arsene Wenger is desperate too. Having been foiled in a deadline-day move for Chelsea’s Demba Ba, he knew he could not risk entering the season with only one senior centre-forward. Bendtner’s proposed move to Crystal Palace had the kibosh put on it, and the big Dane now finds himself back in contention at a club he swore never to play for again.
Bendtner did OK on his return to action. Considering how little match practice he has, completing 120 minutes, notching an assist and scoring in a penalty shootout has to go down as a fairly successful comeback.
However, familiar flaws remain. When played in by Serge Gnabry against West Brom, Bendtner dallied, allowing Craig Dawson to catch and dispossess him. The hesitancy in front of goal was reminiscent of Bendtner’s nadir in an Arsenal shirt: a horrifying miss in the Nou Camp in 2011.
Arsenal would not want to rely on Bendtner for any sustained period. Olivier Giroud is in superb form, but his body will require a rest at some point during this campaign. Come January, the transfer window will be open again and Arsene Wenger will have another chance to secure the striker he needs.
Arsenal have money to spend. Their most recent financial records suggest they had around over £150 million in cash reserves prior to the arrival of Mesut Ozil. That still leaves a heft war-chest at Wenger’s disposal.
With Luis Suarez having returned from suspension, speculation linking the Uruguayan with Arsenal is bound to resume. Indeed, The Mirror are already reporting that the Gunners are preparing a January move for the Liverpool hit man.
In many respects, Suarez would be ideal. He is versatile enough to play wide of Giroud as well as through the middle.
Should Arsenal go back for Luis Suarez?
However, Arsenal have been down this road before. They pursued Suarez with intent, bidding more than £40 million for his services. Liverpool were intransigent and insistent that Suarez will not be sold to a Premier League rival. That stance is unlikely to change in a matter of months, especially after Liverpool’s encouraging start to the season has placed them in direct competition with Arsenal for a Champions League spot.
This summer's bungled Suarez bid was embarrassing for Arsenal. The acquisition of Mesut Ozil restored the club’s reputation as effective negotiators, but going back with an improbable move for Suarez would threaten Arsenal’s credibility all over again.
Arsene Wenger must charge his scouts with the task of finding an alternative to Suarez before January.
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