Theo Walcott is out for the season. Nicklas Bendtner is working his way back from an ankle injury. Olivier Giroud has been overworked in the first half of the season. Lukas Podolski has been much better out wide than leading the line for Arsenal.
In other words, the Gunners desperately need to add a forward in January. Of course, that is probably easier said than done, as Arsene Wenger has conceded.
Here are Wenger's comments, via Rob Kelly of Arsenal.com:
[Walcott’s injury] has accelerated speculation first and of course my desire as well—but let's not forget about Serge Gnabry who can play in the first team.
We have [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain back and we have many other players who can play on the flanks so to find better solutions than what we have internally will not be easy.
Up front we lose Theo as a potential central forward and that's maybe where we have to look outside. But we hopefully have Bendtner back in three weeks. We are there for the opportunities but it's very difficult at the moment.
As Wenger notes, the return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain means Arsenal will be just fine out wide, as Podolski and Santi Cazorla can play on the left wing and Oxlade-Chamberlain and Serge Gnabry will be utilized on the right wing.
Meanwhile, Arsenal are as deep in the midfield as any Premier League team, and defensively, they could use depth at centre-back but have been quite good in the back four this year.
Replacing Walcott's ability to score goals—and be utilized centrally as well—will not so easily be replaced, though. That's why adding reinforcements to the forward position should be the team's priority.
But will any impact strikers be available in January? Diego Costa and Jackson Martinez likely aren't going anywhere. Arsenal have been linked, via Sky Sports, to Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata, who doesn't see a ton of minutes for Los Blancos, but it remains to be seen if the club will let him leave on loan this winter.
Of course, Wenger could also decide to take his chances with Giroud and Bendtner. But for a team that is currently atop the Premier League table, that decision would be frustratingly unambitious. After a strong start, Giroud has just one goal in his last seven games and just three in his last 15.
And with talented players behind the forward, like Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey, there are plenty of goals to be had on this team.
If Arsenal truly are all in for a Premier League title this season, adding another forward is an absolute must. Even if it is only a young but talented player on loan like Morata, the move would simultaneously push Giroud to prove himself again while giving the Gunners insurance at the position.
Because—let's be honest—the prospect of relying on Bendtner in a big game is frightening to many Arsenal's fans.
The loss of Walcott will make winning a Premier League title difficult this season. The inability to replace his goals by adding a solid forward will make it nearly impossible.
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