Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Alvaro Morata is Wenger's top January target -Bendtner should start against Cardiff

Morning Gooners.

With the January transfer window about to open in a matter of hours, it appears that many media outlets are gearing up for a busy time. They are producing their guides to which clubs are chasing which players. Explaining why said footballers could leave their club in the window and which stars are the highest priority for buying clubs.

It's been worked out that Arsene Wenger's top January target is Real Madrid's back up striker Alvaro Morata. A 21-year-old who has scored two goals in 10 appearances in La Liga, starting just one game. He's not featured in his club's two league games in December.

I think it's well established that we're light in the centre forward department. Olivier Giroud has started in 18 out of 19 league games this season. The game the Frenchman was rested for saw Nicholas Bendtner replace him and score his first goal for the club in 1071 days. The Denmark international hasn't scored a goal since in the 23 minutes he's played.

Giroud cannot play the remaining 19 games of the campaign without being rested at some point. Last season he managed to play 34 out of 38 league matches with a return of 11 goals. He's already on eight goals this season. But playing in the lone front role is very demanding and it's clear a rest would help him reach a higher level of performance.

Only Wojeciech Szczesny has played more league game for the club this season. Giroud is second in terms of appearances.

But is Morata the player we need to give us reinforcements in attack? I'd suggest not. Last season he made 12 appearances in La Liga, starting just two games. He scored two goals. This season he's made just as many appearances already, so he's being given a chance at Madrid. Is he going to get much more than a few appearances off the bench at Arsenal? Probably not.

I'd even go as far as saying Nicklas Bendtner is a better option, if Wenger can motivate him to perform.

Personally I think we need a more experienced player than Morata. And if the manager was looking for someone of Morata's age, I'd rather he blooded one of our own youngsters rather than give game time to a player who doesn't even belong to us.

So it comes down to this. Giroud needs to be rested. But in my mind Morata isn't the player we need to replace him during those games.

And I'd suggest that the manager will more than likely start Bendtner in tomorrow's game with Cardiff, giving the Frenchman a break ahead of Saturday's FA Cup clash with Tottenham. Giroud then has another nine days off before our next game with Aston Villa.

I'd be very surprised to see us make any signings in January. But it all depends on who becomes available and if they're on the market at the right price. A striker would be our main target, but there is no use in buying someone who won't have a future at the club beyond this season. We've done too much of that in the past.

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