Arsenal Transfer News: Arsene Wenger Outlines Criteria for New Striker

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26:  Arsene Wenger, manager of Arsenal looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park on October 26, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Arsenal's hunt for attacking alternatives this winter has been given some finer detail, after Arsene Wenger revealed more on the type of figure he's looking for.

Speaking prior to Monday evening's clash against Aston Villa, the Gunners chief is reported, by Amy Lawrence of The Guardiansaying any striker brought in should be versatile, capable of playing with or without Olivier Giroud:

Last summer I looked for a striker that could play with Giroud and without Giroud. In my mind it was not absolutely to replace Giroud, it was to play with or without him. 

He has qualities that the rest of the squad has not got. He always gives us that strength. We have small players who combine quickly, so to find someone who can hold it, keep the ball, make some room for other players, he does that very well. He gives us a very good balance.

Wenger has leaned on the Frenchman's talents a lot this season. In the first half of the 2013-14 campaign, Giroud started in 26 of the club's 28 matches across all competitions prior to New Year's Day, per Transfermark.co.uk.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29:  Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Arsenal at St James' Park on December 29, 2013 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Michael Regan/Getty Images

However, injuries to Giroud and Nicklas Bendtner have only served to highlight a shortcoming in striking reserves. This has led the Gunners back into the transfer market, with the Daily Mail's Sami Mokbel reporting Porto's Jackson Martinez and Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata as high-priority targets for the club.

The New York Times' Graham Ruthven suggests a Morata loan wouldn't challenge Giroud too fiercely, which could be what Wenger is looking for:

Arsenal's wealth of midfield options has at least made them one of the most malleable powers in the English top flight, tactically speaking. This has helped ease the burden on any attacking absences, with Theo Walcott able to fill in up front where needed; Lukas Podolski also holds that potential.

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However, with Walcott now absent for the remainder of the season due to a serious knee injury, per BBC Sport, the need for reinforcements has been made all the more urgent.

Wenger's latest comments would suggest the manager is pleased to remain with Giroud as his first-choice forward up front.

The former Montpellier hitman has had his slower patches of scoring form at the Emirates Stadium since arriving in 2012. However, now enjoying a more fruitful campaign at the forefront of a title-chasing Arsenal side, the 27-year-old is inspiring more confidence in his abilities.

Jack Wilshere was recently quoted by Sky Sports' Pete O'Rourke saying the striker has been the key man in Arsenal's design this season:

Wenger has seemingly banished the idea of signing a "bigger name" alternative to Giroud in January.

Therefore, any player willing to join the Gunners will likely need to be prepared for plenty of time on the bench. Wenger will only invest in quality, but few genuine top-class strikers will accept playing second fiddle to Giroud.


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