Football Features

Ex-Championship star or RVP 2.0? Finding the perfect striker to upgrade Arsenal’s attack

By Squawka News

Finding the perfect striker to fix Arsenal's attack

Published: 15:02, 5 February 2024

We’ve found the perfect striker to fix Arsenal’s attack.

After Mikel Arteta’s side set the record for most touches inside the opposition box without scoring in a single Premier League game — against West Ham in December, going on to lose 2-0 — fans and pundits agreed it’s time to sign a clinical number nine.

So, we’ve used these six stats to create a shortlist:

  • Conversion Rate
  • Non-Penalty Expected Goals
  • Shots Inside The Box
  • Big Chances Scored
  • Shot Accuracy
  • Shot Placement

Remember, this is not a replacement for Gabriel Jesus — as you’re probably well aware, he’s pretty good — this needs to be a completely different option. Arsenal need a fox in the box.

We’re looking for something like this: Erling Haaland was the second highest-rated player from our search with a Squawka Score of 93%. Don’t worry, the No.1 pick is coming later on.

Strikers you won’t find are Dušan Vlahovič or Dominic Solanke, and the internal solution, Eddie Nketiah. So read on for the Squawka picks.

Dream

The dream signing is Victor Osimhen. A premium poacher with go-go gadget legs that get him into the box quicker than anyone else. But it’s the Nigerian’s superhuman leap that could be the biggest asset to Arsenal.

Realistic

Ivan Toney is the most realistic signing. But is he the right fit? Yes, Toney’s conversion rate is slightly better than Gabriel Jesus but these two are more similar than you might think. In fact, think peak Alexandre Lacazette with an aerial presence.

Toney would definitely improve Arsenal — he’s scored 34 goals in 68 Premier League appearances for Brentford, after all — and his playstyle could elevate the goal output from their wide forwards — remember the Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang link-up? — but he is not the striker every fan is asking for. So, how about some wildcard shouts that definitely are?

Wildcards

We recommended Serhou Guirassy alongside Toney in our striker shortlist at the start of the 2022/23 season. Since then, he’s broken the Bundesliga record for most goals in the opening eight games of a season and his conversion rate is even better than Haaland’s.

But Toney and Guirassy both turn 28 in March, so here’s a pair of wonderkid wildcards. Alexander Lind is a stocky striker from Silkeborg that doesn’t seem to do much beyond scoring goals. The 21-year-old returned a 95% Squawka Score, the absolute best mark, ahead of Erling Haaland.

Even though it does not consider the quality of the league, there’s no denying Lind’s finishing stats are insane and he has a shot map that Pippo Inzaghi would be proud of. We wouldn’t expect Lind to start every game for Arsenal, but he might be the Sylvain Wiltord they need to grab a clutch goal from the bench.

A more established young striker who could push for a starting spot is Elye Wahi. The Frenchman proved he can be clinical by scoring against Arsenal at home in the Champions League and was the only shining light when Lens returned to the Emirates — just ask William Saliba.

The only U21 player that scored more Ligue 1 goals in 2022/23 was Folarin Balogun. Should Arsenal have kept him? The answer doesn’t matter, because he’s not one of the Squawka Suggestions. They are both left-footed and both aged 25 and under.

Squawka Suggests

The first pick is Viktor Gyökeres. The Swede is a complete centre-forward. At first glance, he looks like a Gabriel Jesus clone. But if we focus on his stats since joining Sporting, you can see why the 25-year-old has made the final two.

Ivan Toney, Dominic Solanke and Ollie Watkins all developed their game in the Championship and have all been linked to Arsenal at some point. Even though he has an £87m release clause, Gyökeres — who is the Primeira Liga’s top scorer this season with 15 goals –should be no different.

The final name on the shortlist is the best option in terms of age and style profile. Santiago Giménez scored more Eredivisie goals in 2023 than any other player.

At 22 years old, he can be eased into the team and used in specific scenarios while adapting to Premier League football and Arsenal’s patterns of play. And the last left-footed forward they signed from Feyenoord turned out to be decent.

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