With Arsenal fans thinking that their club has some kind of divine right to be challenging for the Premier League title and mixing it with Europe’s elite season in and season out, the pressure is mounting on Arsene Wenger to put together a squad that can do just that.
While this season has been their most fruitful for many a campaign, fans are starting to lose patience with their 64-year-old manager after a string of poor performances of late.
It’s clear that Wenger needs to add to the squad during the summer to bolster his side’s chances of once again becoming a football superpower, and starting from the front will be a good way to go about it.
Though main striker Olivier Giroud has scored 14 goals in 32 Premier League appearances this season, per WhoScored.com, his ability to lead a front line in a team vying for the title has come under question throughout the campaign.
The Frenchman generally doesn’t get the credit that his performances warrant in a side where midfielders hog the limelight, but it’s clear that he needs a partner in crime up front to truly bring the best out of him.
Former striker Kevin Campbell believes that had Wenger invested in a world-class striker to accompany Giroud up front this season, then Arsenal would still be in contention for the title, as reported by talkSport:
Giroud has been a shining light for Arsenal this season. He has had to lead the line himself for a lot of the season and now he has scored 17, 18 goals. Getting in some goalscoring help could have been the difference between Arsenal being in a challenging position for the title and having to fight for fourth place. Olivier Giroud couldn’t play the whole season on his own.
Bayern Munich’s Mario Mandzukic is an ideal candidate to come in and provide the kind of support that Giroud craves. Though the pair are very similar in playing styles, the Gunners need players who have the ability to get into goalscoring positions, as they have a very talented crop of midfielders to call upon as providers.
Per SoccerWay, the Croatian has scored 17 Bundesliga goals this season and has been heavily linked with a move away from the Allianz Arena, with Robert Lewandowski soon to be arriving from Borussia Dortmund.
With Yaya Sanogo and Nicklas Bendtner being Giroud’s current understudies at the Emirates, it’s clear that Wenger needs to bring in another a front man to add depth to his talented squad.
As the Premier League table shows, Arsenal have scored 59 goals this season—considerably less than the totals of their top-four rivals.
In Mandzukic, Arsenal would have a player who doesn’t need a second invitation to get in a goalscoring position, something they’ve desperately needed at vital times this season.
Elsewhere, the Gunners have a relatively strong setup with a particularly impressive midfield that boasts the likes of Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla.
However, with right-back Bacary Sagna’s future at the club in doubt, landing another versatile defender will be an important move for Wenger.
According to Arsene Wenger, Bacary Sagna is 'not close' to signing a new contract with Arsenal— BETFUZE (@BETFUZE) February 14, 2014
Highly rated Toulouse star Serge Aurier would be a sensational capture for the Gunners, with the 21-year-old proving a massive hit in Ligue 1 this season.
According to WhoScored.com, the young Ivorian has scored six goals and assisted a further six over the course of the campaign, with his forward-thinking nature proving incredibly effective in the French top flight.
As Metro reports, Wenger is rumoured to have started transfer negotiations with Aurier, meeting the player’s agent earlier this week.
Aurier has played all the way across the back line for Toulouse this season and has even pushed up to the wing, showing the kind of pace and power that Arsenal need defensively.
With the possibility of Wenger being out of work come the end of the campaign, the first job for the Frenchman needs to be keeping his current crop of stars in red.
A Champions League place now looks like a foregone conclusion for the Gunners, having seized the initiative from Everton in midweek, which means they’ll need more world-class players at their disposal if they’re to make an impact next year.
Mandzukic and Aurier are players who would definitely get the nod of approval from the Arsenal faithful, but whether or not Wenger can find a way to bring them to North London remains to be seen.
For the sake of his career in the Arsenal hot seat, though, he may just have to.