Arsene Wenger could turn to Sevilla forward Carlos Bacca as he looks to bolster his striking options, with reports suggesting the Arsenal boss is willing to make a late foray into the transfer market.
According to Oliver Pickup of Goal.com, the Gunners would have to pay £12.5 million to acquire the forward and after their 1-1 draw with Leicester City on Sunday—a game in which Yaya Sanogo was unconvincing as a lone front man—the club’s need for reinforcements up top was painfully apparent.
But even though the young Sanogo is currently the Gunners’ only senior orthodox striker option—Olivier Giroud is set to miss the rest of the year with a broken leg—Wenger has insisted that while he is still in the market, throwing money at the problem might not always be the answer, per John Cross of The Mirror:
The solution every time you don’t win is to buy somebody. We are out there, we try our best and you have to trust us to find the best possible solution.
But every time you don’t win a game, you can’t think there is a miracle man out there who wins you the game. Why did Man City not win against Stoke [on Saturday]? They have plenty of strikers. Football is a team sport. And we can’t sell it - us and you - as just an individual sport.
While Wenger’s insistence that the game is about the collective rings true, he’s a manager that is massively experienced and will have surely learned lessons from last season.
The Gunners were crying out for cover for Giroud during the previous campaign, and although the signing of Alexis Sanchez adds a refreshing spark to their forward line, he’s unproven as a centre-forward in England’s top flight.
And while Sanogo is undeniably willing and physically impactful, he’s still a little wet behind the ears when it comes to leading the line.
Bacca is a player that’s shown he could be capable of doing so, though. Here’s why the Sevilla man is such hot property:
The Colombian would be an ideal stylistic fit for the Gunners, for he’s far more than a goal-poacher, boasting plenty of other desirable facets to his game. He found the back of the net 21 times for the Andalusians last season per Pickup’s piece, but his industry, spacial awareness and dribbling ability allow him to make big contributions to all-round play.
Bacca has begun this season well too, as noted by ESPN’s Dermot Corrigan:
Bacca has started the season in excellent form.— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) August 30, 2014
He's exactly the type of foil Arsenal would need for their creative midfield talents, and the 27-year-old forward could potentially thrive off the service afforded to him by the likes of Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla. His willingness to come short, run in behind and impose himself physically are all qualities that'd add a unique edge to the point of Arsenal's attack.
Should Wenger move for a forward?
If Wenger fails to bring in a forward prior to the window closing, there would be myriad questions to be asked about Arsenal's chances of a Premier League title win. Sure, the club boast a host of fine intricate midfield options that make them a real force, but without those forensic, predatory instincts at the sharp end of the pitch, the Gunners could fail to break down tight defences.
It’s certainly a big concern for the Londoners, and Cross is worried Wenger’s stubbornness could see him remain inactive on Deadline Day despite money being available to him:
Wenger pulled a face when asked about Bacca, they didn't meet Remy clause, I fear #afc won't sign a striker. The money is available to him.— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) September 1, 2014
With Sanogo or a combination of makeshift forwards leading the line from now up until Giroud’s return, there’s a sense that this Arsenal team could be out of the Premier League title race before it’s begun in earnest. After splashing the cash this summer to bring in a host of quality players in other areas, that’d be a major disappointment to the Emirates faithful.
If Bacca is available for transfer at this late stage of the window, then £12.5 million would represent startlingly astute business for the Gunners. The arrival of another forward would give everyone at the club a major boost and if the Colombian was to hit the ground running—as new strikers are privy to sometimes doing—then Arsenal could find themselves right in the mix by the time Giroud returns.