I think it would be safe to say that if you were to tell Arsene Wenger that come the Christmas Period, he would be deploying Andrey Arshavin as a lone striker due to injuries, he would be a very surprised man. Despite Arsenal’s recent impressive form that has seen them defeat Liverpool on their own patch and jump back into the title race, they are still in need of another striker and rumours of a ‘big man’ refuse to go away. There have been host of names linked with a move to The Emirates, including Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Mario Balotelli; however the two most likely candidates appear to be Bordeaux’s Marouane Chamakh and Everton’s Louis Saha.
Chamakh has proved to be one of the key ingredients in a hugely successful year for Bordeaux. Laurent Blanc’s side clinched the Ligue 1 title last season, ending the seven year reign of Lyon in the process and have since progressed to the knockout stages of the Champions League after impressing in a group containing European giants Juventus and Bayern Munich. Chamakh is a Moroccan striker who has proved to be one of the big talents in France over the last few years. His goal scoring record for Bordeaux is impressive if not outstanding. He has scored 55 times in 232 appearances for the French side, a rate of just less than 1 in 4.
Chamakh is an immensely technical player and by no means fits the target man criteria rumoured around the Emirates. Despite standing at 6ft 2inches tall, Chamakh is not the most physical of players and instead prefers to focus on the ball at his feet. The Moroccan contains excellent ball control and it is likely that he will find it easy to slot into the Arsenal side given the free flowing attacking football that they like to play. His goal scoring record can be considered a concern considering the standard of the league he has been plying his trade in. It is an all too familiar story that a player who has succeeded in a lesser league has struggled greatly with the rigours of Premier League football. Chamakh, despite his glaringly obvious natural talent, would be a risk for Wenger to take and given their current squad, an out and out goal scorer may be a better option.
Louis Saha is a striker that the Premier League knows a lot more about, having featured for Manchester United and Fulham before Everton. Saha has overcome injuries to be a huge success at Goodison Park and has proved to be Everton’s one saving grace in an otherwise dismal start to the campaign. Saha holds a record of 20 goals in 48 appearances for Everton and also boasts impressive goal scoring statistics for both Fulham and Man Utd. He is a powerful striker who is also technically gifted. His strength and pace are accompanied by a goal scoring prowess that makes him one of the league’s most prolific strikers.
Saha would no doubt be a success at The Emirates and could well be what Wenger is looking for. He is a versatile striker and is able to act in a target man role as well as having the ability to playing fast, fluid football. He has proven himself in England and could prove to be a bargain considering his Everton contract runs up in the summer. The only real issue surrounding Saha is his match fitness. The Frenchman is prone to injury and as we have seen with numerous Arsenal players in the past, most notably Robin Van Persie, this can act as a stumbling block to Arsenal’s season. Whilst Saha may seem like the ideal signing, there is a certain degree of risk that comes with the former Manchester United striker’s signature.
Louis Saha seems like the most sensible option, however Everton are likely to do their best to hang on to the striker whereas Bordeaux seem resigned to Chamakh’s summer exit. For me, Saha pips Chamakh due to his sheer goal scoring record and Premier League experience. Everton have also shown an interest in the Moroccan and you never know, if Saha does end up at the Emirates, we could still be seeing Chamakh in the Premier League, but at Goodison Park.
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