Robin van Persie has had a magnificent start to the 2011/12 English Premier League season.
With 11 goals and four assists in only 11 EPL matches, van Persie has at times single-handedly willed Arsenal to success this season.
In fact, after a slow start to the season, it is Arsenal's captain who has managed to steer them back to success and up the EPL table. Currently, Arsenal sits in seventh place, having won their last four consecutive EPL matches.
But if Arsenal hope to continue their success in both the EPL and Arsenal's other competitions, a partner will have to be found for RVP, someone who can compliment RVP in attack, link-up with him regularly when the two play together, and maybe even cover for him in attack whenever he is unavailable.
Arsenal's usual formation is 4-3-3, with two wing-forwards playing alongside van Persie, but in the event that Arsenal do decide to shift at some point to 4-4-2 or some other two-striker formation, here are the top 10 best partners for Arsenal to bring into their lineup.
Arsenal fans are probably tired of hearing Marvin Martin's name by now. Since scoring two goals and assisting another on his debut with the French national team, it seems Martin has been endlessly linked with a move to Arsenal.
A move for Marvin Martin makes a great deal of sense. The Sochaux midfielder is young (only 23 years old) and French, two big attributes Arsene Wenger clearly values very highly.
Most importantly however, Martin is a spectacular playmaker. Last year, he helped Sochaux, a historically mediocre Ligue 1 team, to a very impressive fifth place finish by recording an impressive three goals and 17 assists in 37 league games.
Martin could conceivably play as a second striker or attacking midfielder in front of the midfield behind Robin van Persie, feeding him with quality scoring opportunities through the game.
There are a few drawbacks to recruiting Marvin Martin as a partner for Robin van Persie however.
Martin is a playmaker first and foremost, and Arsenal already have their playmaker of the future in Aaron Ramsey. Playing both of them together could lead to both players taking away from each others' game.
Additionally, Martin is not a regular goalscorer by any means. In 121 games with Sochaux, Martin has scored only 10 goals. Though there isn't too much wrong with putting the scoring burden on Robin van Persie, it would probably be ideal for Arsenal to have a partner to RVP who is capable of scoring as well, to take a bit of the pressure off the Dutchman.
Strangely, Martin has come out recently and announced that he is interested in furthering his career in Spain if he decides to leave France.
This announcement is particularly peculiar as Barcelona and Real Madrid have neither need nor snown interest in the player, while Arsenal have at least been monitoring his situation for some time now.
It's unlikely Martin will be linking up with RVP based on all of the roadblocks and drawbacks mentioned above, but a move is still possible if Arsenal does decide to step up its interest in the player.
It should be noted however the player has dealt an even bigger blow to a possible move to Arsenal by insisting that he will not leave Sochaux for any club in January.
Before you scroll down to the comments section to call me insane for suggesting that Brek Shea could partner Robin Van Persie, hear me out.
As everyone already knows, Brek Shea is set to join up with Arsenal for a month following the United States' friendlies with France and Slovenia on November 11th and 15th, respectively.
The idea was suggested to Shea by USMNT coach Juergen Klinsmann, in order to keep Shea in top shape during the MLS off-season.
However, if Wenger is impressed by what he sees, why not sign up Shea on a permanent basis?
The FC Dallas player is easily America's brightest talent in soccer today, and at just 21 years old is coming off a MVP-caliber season with his club, in which he scored 11 goals and recorded four assists in 31 games to take his team to the MLS Playoffs.
Shea possesses incredible versatility. He has already played in nearly every field position in the game, and at a whopping 6'3," he could easily be used as a target man in front or alongside RVP.
This would be great for an Arsenal team that has been begging for a target man since Marouane Chamakh suddenly decided to lose all his confidence and skill back back in December 2010.
Alternatively, Shea could play behind RVP, seeing as he possess an excellent shot from distance and impressive strength and pace on the ball.
The idea of Brek Shea linking up with Robin van Persie seems ridiculous to even think about, but who's to say that it won't happen?
It's unlikely that the MLS will ask for an absurd amount of money like most clubs in the world do today, and if Wenger is really impressed, he has already proven that he is perfectly willing to splash the cash and trust youth players who really impress him (see: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain).
The Marco Reus story has built up very interestingly in the last few days. Apparently, acting on a tip from Jens Lehmann, Arsene Wenger decided to contact the manager at Borussia Monchengladbach, Lucien Favre, to inquire on the possibility of acquiring Marco Reus.
In response, Favre decided to let the story get loose to the media, and rumor mill has been in full effect ever since.
Personally, I believe Marco Reus could be an excellent partner to van Persie. Contrary to Lucien Favre's claims, Marco Reus has actually been developing very well at Borussia Monchengladbach for three seasons now, and at 22 years old is perfectly primed for a move to a big team like Arsenal.
Given his excellent form in the Bundesliga, it is likely that Reus would be given the opportunity to start right away, and given his prowess in front of goal (eight goals and an assist in 10 games), he could be the perfect second option that Arsenal have been looking for alongside RVP.
However, like with Martin earlier, a January move seems incredibly unlikely given how ardent Favre has been in his desire to keep Reus until the end of the season, and even beyond.
If Wenger can either convince 'Gladbach and Favre to change their minds, or stay patient until next summer, Reus could be a great addition to the Arsenal squad, and an excellent partner to RVP.
I know what you're thinking: Isn't Lukas Podolski way too old for Arsenal?
Jokes aside, it seems that Arsenal are really interested in signing Lukas Podolski, according to GiveMeFootball (and various other sources).
And why shouldn't they be? After a rough '09-'10 season and a solid '10-'11 season with FC Koln, Podolski looks on top of his game this season with nine goals in 11 Bundesliga matches.
At 26 years old, Podolski still has a long career ahead of him, but would bring with him the experience of nine years of top-flight football as well as 93 Germany caps (and counting).
Furthermore, as a versatile wing-forward, Podolski would likely fit in whatever system Arsenal decided to adopt for any given forward, be it a two-striker formation or one-striker, two-winger formation.
Lastly, a move in January is very possible, which isn't the case with most of the other guys on this list.
Joachim Low has already lent his support to the move by saying that he believes Podolski should be playing at a top-level European club, and Podolski will be quite aware of the fact that the chance to play for a top European club will likely not come again, especially given his rough times at Bayern.
FC Koln may not favor letting go of their prized youth product, but for the right amount of money can likely be convinced to allow him to move abroad.
Let's be real: Every Arsenal fan would love to see Eden Hazard partnering Robin Van Persie. Forget compatibility, these two immensely talented players would likely tear down defenses on a regular basis.
But, let's be real: Although the Arsenal rumor mill continues to make a move for Hazard seem possible, multiple sources are reporting that Hazard is only interested in moving to Real Madrid.
Though this alone does not guarantee a move will happen, it means that Hazard will hold onto the dream of a move until at least next summer, and possibly beyond that.
I don't fancy Arsenal's odds of acquiring Hazard if it has to compete financially with these giants of football.
I was inspired to include Theo Walcott on this list by the following article, which highlighted a lot of my feelings about Theo Walcott.
Although he can be very infuriating to watch at times, Walcott has definitely matured into a serious weapon for Arsenal over the last season or so.
To a large degree, injuries have made his development proceed much slower than expected, but he has definitely made noticeable strides in the quality of his finishing and in his ability to take on defenders.
Theo Walcott has already made his desire to play as a center forward known, and with Robin van Persie classifying himself as a "nine-and-a-half," what would be the harm in experimenting with Walcott upfront with van Persie behind him?
Wenger has already experimented with including Chamakh in the lineup this season in the hopes that the center forward can rediscover the excellent form he showed in the first half of 2010-11, so it would be only fair to give Walcott a similar opportunity given that he has made his desire to play as a CF clear.
And who knows, maybe Arsenal's Dutch magician will be able to link up with the pacy striker in front of him to great effect, echoing back to the excellent partnership that Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry enjoyed just a few years ago.
Just as I can see Theo Walcott linking up well with Robin van Persie, I could also see Gervinho and Van Persie flourishing alongside each other if paired up to lead Arsenal's attack.
Unlike Theo Walcott, Gervinho has actually played as a forward at Lille (and not just a wing-forward), and is also a much better goal-creator, having already assisted five Arsenal goals in eight EPL games this season.
He may not be as pacy as Walcott, but he possesses a slightly bigger frame and his playing style could be more conducive to a partnership with RVP since Gervinho is much more unselfish with the ball than Theo Walcott is.
It seems Arsene Wenger has really taken a keen interest in German talent after the recruit of Per Mertesacker to Arsenal.
Wenger reportedly dispatched his top scout to watch Mario Gotze last week as Borussia Dortmund took on Olympiakos, but was instead given glowing reviews about Grosskreutz and not Gotze following Dortmund's demolition of the Greek team.
Grosskreutz has also done his part to try and get a move to materialize, making clear his admiration of Arsenal and stating that they are his No. 1 choice team to play for should he leave Dortmund.
It's hard to speculate on how good of a match Grosskreutz would be for Arsenal. I've never truly sat down and seen him play, and have only known him to be a winger.
His stats show him to be neither a prolific goalscorer or assist maker, although they are definitely solid numbers for a winger.
I wouldn't like to see Grosskreutz partnered with RVP, because he has very little experience as a true forward. As a winger, he's great, but Arsenal are already stacked with wingers and definitely do not need more congestion in that department.
Like Eden Hazard earlier, Alexander Pato is on this list because his name has actually been popularly mentioned as an Arsenal target in the January transfer window lately.
In fact, Crunchsports builds a decent case for why Pato may want a move away from AC Milan, citing Allegri's statement that Pato is no longer an automatic starter as well as AC Milan's desire to bring in another midfielder in the January transfer window.
But the arguments against a move happening are much stronger in my opinion. For one, the striker keeping Alexander Pato out of the starting lineup, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is 30 years old.
He probably has no more than two to three years at the top of his game, and it would make no sense for AC Milan to offload the striker expected to pick up much of the scoring load when Ibrahimovic finally retires. It would be a major hit to the future success of the club.
Secondly, with Antonio Cassano out for at least "a few months" following heart surgery, AC Milan have only Ibrahimovic, Robinho, Pato and Filippo Inzaghi to call upon in the meantime. Losing Pato as well in the transfer window would severely hurt AC Milan's depth in the striker department.
Last but not least, Arsenal would have to pay a massive fee to lure Alexander Pato from AC Milan, probably in the region of £35-£40 million. The chances of a notoriously stingy club like Arsenal splashing that kind of money in January are very, very low.
Like Hazard, it would be amazing to see Pato at Arsenal in January.
Do I see it happening? Not really.
When it comes to Arsenal rumors, there's always an endless supply to choose from. I could've included Gotze on this list given the attention he's recently received from Arsenal, as well as Darren Bent and Jermain Defoe, who were both linked to Arsenal in a couple reports.
But rather than do that, I'd like to open the floor to my readers: Who would you like to see partner Robin van Persie for Arsenal? Someone already in the squad, or someone from outside the squad? Is that someone on this list, or is there someone not on this list who you would like to see partnering RVP?
It's also worth asking, should anyone really partner RVP? As the saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Why find a partner for RVP if he's doing so well flanked by Gervinho and Walcott? Is a backup plan really neccessary?
Please do leave your thoughts below, and it'd be great to at least get an answer from everyone on who they personally would like to see partner RVP, either post-January or next season.
My personal picks would have be Lukas Podolski or Maro Reus, both look like very feasible and compatible fits for Arsenal.