Arsene Wenger’s press conferences are set to become box-office events over the next two months as speculation grows that Arsenal will look to land a big-name striker to take the load off Olivier Giroud.
Giroud’s winter training will be “tailored to reduce the risk of injury,” according to Jeremy Wilson of the Daily Telegraph, but Wenger is believed to be keen to provide an alternative option to the French forward.
Arsenal will have Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski as striking options when the pair return from injury, but neither offers the hold-up ability of Giroud.
Karim Benzema and Edin Dzeko have been identified as potential January arrivals, per Wilson’s report, while Manchester United’s Javier Hernandez is also being “monitored.”
Wilson reports that Benzema is the likeliest of the three:
Although Dzeko and Hernandez have struggled for first-team opportunities this season, it is hard to imagine either Manchester City or Manchester United being willing to strengthen Arsenal mid-season.
Benzema has been more involved for Madrid but, with only 18 months remaining on his contract, there is still a sense that an offer of around £30 million would be seriously considered in January.
Arsenal fans will be all too aware that Wenger often favours the cheap option, despite the recent £42.5 million arrival of Mesut Ozil.
If Wenger’s career in the transfer market had to be encapsulated by one player, the free addition of Mathieu Flamini is more representative of the number-crunching French boss than Ozil’s mega-money capture.
Therefore, the potential fourth option of Salomon Kalou may well tempt the Arsenal manager as short-term support for Giroud.
Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail reports the following on Kalou:
Arsenal have been offered the chance to sign Salomon Kalou in January.
The former Chelsea forward, currently at French club Lille, is keen on a return to the Barclays Premier League in the next transfer window.
And Kalou, who has a £2.5million release clause, has instructed his advisors to gauge interest among English clubs ahead of January.
Kalou’s capture would make little sense. The 28-year-old is arguably past his best and has scored three goals for Lille this season.
The Ivory Coast international is not naturally a player who likes to operate with his back to goal and was largely utilised out wide during his Chelsea days, rather than through the centre.
Of the four players linked, Benzema would be sure to excite, but it is Dzeko who is most like Giroud if Wenger seeks like-for-like cover.