The uncertainty, the bitter results, and the cold winter; North London was in disarray, the red half to be precise. It was pretty much sure that Alexis Sanchez would leave Arsenal in the summer, yet he was still an Arsenal player but when the winter window opened, his exit was certain and the only uncertainty being the color of his jersey. As Sanchez completes the move over to the red quarter of Manchester, the dark clouds that circled above Ashburton Grove seem to move away.
Like the popular Scouse song up in the north, “At the end of a storm, there’s a golden sky”. And in the case of Arsenal fans, it’s the possibility of a golden duo playing in the famous red and white. As part of Sanchez deal, Henrikh Mkhitaryan has joined the Arsenal. And more to come in the form of certain Gabon striker in the coming days. A well-acquainted partnership in a window.
It’s a mouthwatering prospect, for the Gooners and Arsene Wenger itself. ‘We’re replacing a very good player with a very good player, a world-class player with a world-class player,’ Wenger told Arsenal’s official website.
How good can the swap deal be?
In Mkhitaryan, he has a quality player who fits this bill perfectly. Mkhitaryan was a star player for Dortmund before making the move to Manchester, making thirty-eight starts and four sub appearances, scoring thirteen goals and registering twenty assists in all competitions. He was voted the best player in the 2015-2016 season, beating out Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller as well as his teammate and current rumored Arsenal target Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Mkhitaryan is a creative force, who often operates from the wings. And in him, Arsenal will have a partner for Ozil in sharing the assist duties. His vision and incision come to life in the final third, a perfect recipe for the lethal finishers like Lacazatte or the rumored Aubameyang. Mkhitaryan can be compared to a certain Belarusian international Hleb, who was a cult hero among Arsenal fans. Mkhitaryan can play through the flanks even though he is not as quick as Alexis or Theo. In him, Arsenal has a player who could be sure of the final ball delivery. And a player who can deputize Ozil in his absence.
If Arsenal can pull off Aubameyang deal this window, it’s safe to say the Arsenal board has made diligent effort to replace Sanchez and Walcott. ‘If’, a conjunction often used with Arsenal. Reports are all over the internet stating the Arsenal chiefs are in Dortmund to finalize the deal. And if it comes to pass Arsenal’s front four would pose a serious threat to the Premier League defenders.
But it would be a serious food for thought for Arsene to line up his attacking quadrat in the best way possible. Will he switch to his favorite 4-2-3-1 or the newly introduced 3-5-2 or the traditional variants of 4-4-2? It’s not a bad question to have. In Lacazette and Aubameyang, Wenger will have two lethal finishers whose number speaks for itself.
Aubameyang in 46 apps last season- 40 goals
Lacazatte in 45 apps last season – 37 goals
Arsenal strikers over the years are excellent when it comes to the philosophy of Arsene, possession with progression. The hold-up play to bring the midfielders into goalscoring situation is something we associate a lot with Arsenal. Olivier Giroud even with his deficiencies is one such striker perfect in the Arsenal mold. But with strikers like Lacazette or Aubameyang, it’s different. Both being the goalscorers they are, it’s hard to play either of them even on the wings. Yes, they both are quick but that alone doesn’t suffice the skill set for a wide player. Given the nature of Premier League, it’s not common to see a 4-4-2 on the field. If the quadrat has to play together someone will have to play further down.
But there are too many questions to be answered. Arsene being an ever-present figure in Premier league, the stubborn Professor often sticks with his Plan A rather than resorting to other viable options. It’s not usual to see him buy a high profile player in the winter window when he himself has voiced to scrap off the mid-season transfer market. Is Sven Mislintat, the new head of recruitment who was an integral jewel in the Dortmund setup forcing Arsene to move for one of his treasured finds? Or does Arsene find Lacazatte short in his requirements?
The only respite in regard is if Arsenal is to go further in their Europa campaign, Arsene will have to use Lacazatte alone as Pierre is club-tied according to the European competition rules, whereas Mkhitaryan can be included in the squad. Having two fresh strikers at disposal is luxury to have as the season hits its peak.
If Arsenal is to complete the transfer of the Gabonese striker in this window, they will have an acquainted successful partnership at their disposal ready to push them higher in a top four champions league spot finish. These are good headaches for Arsenal fans, it’s a trademark of an elite team to have world class players pushing each other for a start. And as far as Arsene is considered a pleasant one to have since the transfer hullabaloo that somewhat unsettled his team for a while.
As the rebellious alpha male leaves, that takes to the famous quotation. “When the snow falls and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives” It’s always been the pack that moves forward. And if Arsenal has to withstand this winter, they must surely have to fight as a pack.