Arsenal Transfer News: Antoine Griezmann Not a Priority for Arsene Wenger

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2014


Arsene Wenger has confirmed he is interested in bringing Antoine Griezmann to Arsenal, but the Real Sociedad winger shouldn't be a priority for the Emirates boss.

Wenger acknowledged his admiration during an interview with French television, per Daniel Jones of the Metro:

"Yes, we follow him in great detail," said Wenger. "He attracts other clubs as well. But we follow him, he is a known commodity."

Although there is little doubt Griezmann's talent—which has lauded 15 goals in 24 La Liga appearances this season, per—would benefit the Gunners' attacking play, the 22-year-old's potential transfer must be placed behind the acquisition of a new striker and defensive reinforcements.

Griezmann deservedly received a call-up to the latest France squad, as tweeted by Puma Football, but he isn't the shot of life Arsenal need to finally land a piece of silverware:

The club's recent 1-0 loss to Stoke highlighted Wenger's mistakes in the winter transfer window. Frustrated by physical opposition and with very little out-and-out attacking options on the bench, the manager was forced to throw on Yaya Sanogo for just his second Premier League appearance.

Despite rumours of Mirko Vucinic and Miroslav Klose joining the team throughout January, reported by James Olley of the London Evening Standard, such additional experience couldn't be called upon. Sanogo missed an excellent chance as the game drew to a close, confirming Arsenal's drop into third with a scuffed shot over the bar from close range.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  (L-R) Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United and Olivier Giroud of Arsenal challenge for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on February 12, 2014 in Lo
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Griezmann is a goalscorer, but he isn't the striker Wenger desperately needs. The slight Sociedad star typically plays on the left wing or slightly further up, where he regularly opts to beat the first man before moving in on goal. He holds the ball up well in wide positions and is an astute finisher, but Griezmann isn't a natural alternative to Giroud.

Whereas the previously linked Julian Draxler could bring a sense of power, versatility and physical dominance to the team, per Jamie Sanderson of the Metro, Griezmann offers plenty of what the Gunners already possess.

The youngster's blistering pace, dribbling quality and willingness to consistently support attacks is similar to that of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Serge Gnabry. He is perhaps less versatile than each of these players and isn't used to fulfilling responsibilities away from his tried-and-tested position, although this is something Wenger could work on.

CARDIFF, WALES - NOVEMBER 30:  Bacary Sagna of Arsenal tussles with Peter Odemwingie of Cardiff during the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Arsenal at Cardiff City Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Christophe
Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Griezmann does work hard defensively, racking up 1.9 tackles each game this season, per, but Wenger should also prioritise reinforcements at the back before adding to his selection of like-minded midfielders.

Bacary Sagna has reportedly told teammates he is leaving, per the Sun on Sunday and via ESPN, indicating a new right-back should become a particular point of focus. Arsenal are rather depleted in this area, with Carl Jenkinson the only natural replacement to Sagna if he decides to exit.

Although it would be entirely acceptable for Wenger to pursue Griezmann, a striker and defender during the summer, positional shortcomings must be addressed before paying out for the Frenchman. He is an exceptional talent, one we can expect to continue his rise to prominence across the next few years, but he would be a luxury signing for the North London club.