Since the previous transfer window shut in August, football fans, pundits and experts alike have reiterated that Arsenal need another striker if they are to mount a serious challenge for the Premier League title.
Fast-forward to December, and the Gunners are four points clear of Chelsea at the summit of the division and on the brink of qualification from a Champions League group that includes Napoli and Borussia Dortmund. However, the demand for Arsenal to sign another striker in the media is still as fierce as ever.
While another striker would add depth to striking ranks that look slightly threadbare beyond the surface, Arsene Wenger must be careful not to disrupt the flow of one of their most improved—and most influential—players in the campaign so far.
Olivier Giroud is in somewhat of a lean spell at the moment—with just the brace against Southampton his only goals since November, per WhoScored.com. The game against Hull provides him with another opportunity to find his scoring boots quickly once again, but he is still a key cog to Arsenal's success.
Few strikers at the top level can hold the ball up and win aerial duels to the extent Giroud can. Even when he is not scoring goals, he is creating chances with his powerful presence in the air. He is also in the best form of his Arsenal career to date, meaning it is important Wenger does not disrupt his momentum.
Arsenal—like most teams in Europe—operate with just a solitary striker upfront. If Wenger is to go out into the market to purchase a striker, he has to be coy in how he does it. With the exception of a superstar talent becoming available in January—a highly unlikely scenario—Wenger must recruit someone who is happy to be operated in a rotation policy.
If Giroud needs anything, it is healthy competition. He needs a striker who will keep him on his toes for his place in the starting lineup and bring the best out of him. It is safe to say the threat of Nicklas Bendtner does not keep the Frenchman awake at night worrying for his place, but someone of the ilk of Alvaro Morata would.
Morata is becoming another striker who is persistently linked with the Gunners—indeed, the Daily Express' Simon Yeend reported on Tuesday that Morata has agreed a six-month loan deal. The young Spaniard would provide an excellent foil for Giroud, having come off the bench plenty of times for Real Madrid this season—it's a role he would excel in for Arsenal.
Of course, Morata also has the talent to step up to the starting line-up should Giroud's form dip somewhat. That is something Gunners fans would not relish should Bendtner be the only alternative option.
While it is somewhat universally accepted that Arsenal do indeed require another striker to bolster their ranks, they don't need a striker to take the place of Giroud. That would be a strange move for a man who has become not only Arsenal's leading light in attack, but also one of the spearheads of France's attack at international level too.
Wenger would indeed be wise to recruit in January, but he should do so with a sense of realism that Giroud is still a top striker who should not be forgotten.