With Nicklas Bendtner just one rolled ankle away from becoming Arsenal’s only recognised front man, it is clear what Arsene Wenger needs to do in January.
While Olivier Giroud has been exquisite at times this season, the Gunners are in need of an additional forward if they are to continue their rampant run atop the table.
1. KEY MAN: The stats don't lie, Olivier Giroud and Arsenal are a match made in heaven this season - http://t.co/UltG3ICRqI— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 27, 2013
The busy Christmas period has a nasty tendency to exploit weaknesses in a squad, and Arsenal have a particularly rough ride over the next few weeks.
Both Kostas Mitroglou—per Nick Lustig in the Daily Star—and Alexandre Pato—per Alex Richards in the Mirror—have been linked with a move to the North London outfit in January, but it’s the former who should excite Arsenal fans the most.
The Greek international, who has scored four hat-tricks since the beginning of September, also led his country to next summer’s World Cup with three goals in their two-leg play-off against Romania.
Mitroglou is cut from a different cloth than Giroud.
The Frenchman fits into Arsenal’s system like a glove. He has excellent footwork for a big man, and he invites Arsenal’s efficient midfield forward with his remarkable ability to hold up the ball and link up the play.
Giroud offers more to his teammates than Mitroglou will, but the latter will rack up more impressive numbers in front of goal.
At 25, Mitroglou still has time to grow as a player, but his current form suggests he is close to a polished product. He is a powerful No. 9 and, like all good goal poachers, has a knack of being in the right place at the right time.
Arsenal’s contribution from midfield has been scintillating this season. With a true goalscorer on the receiving end of their selfless distribution, Arsenal could become even more efficient in the attacking third, and that’s a frightening prospect for the chasing pack.
In their current situation, Mitroglou is a better fit for Arsenal than Pato.
Unlike the Brazilian, Mitroglou is playing the best football of his career.
Pato, who remarkably is still only 24, was one of the world’s most promising youngsters in his time at AC Milan. He scored 65 goals for the Rossoneri—per ESPN FC—but his career has gone backwards since his move to Corinthians.
He has started 13 of Corinthians’ 29 Brasileirao games on the bench this term, and the dream homecoming has turned into a bit of a nightmare for the diminutive playmaker.
Wenger has a knack of taking a rough diamond and helping it shine. Look no further than Thierry Henry for an example of what Wenger can do with a stuttering youngster.
But this is a crucial phase for Arsenal Football Club. If they sign well in January, then a first trophy in eight years will become a very realistic possibility.
While Pato’s ability is unquestionable, his ego will need plenty of massaging and his confidence boosting before he is up to the rigours of a title challenge.
There is no time for bedding in at the Emirates. Whoever they sign needs to hit the ground running. At the moment, Mitroglou is their best option.