Mikel Arteta picks ‘priority’ for Arsenal striker clone after Gabriel Jesus transfer decision – Tom Canton
It can often be that we obsess over specific players or at least types of players that we think would be the best fit for our club and then feel incredibly frustrated when they don’t materialize. I know that I have been confronted with this event several times.
Be it of Arsenal failure to sign Eden Hazard, Marco Asensio or Dominique’s rooms I was convinced at the time that they would be big hits at the Gunners. More recently I fell into this trap again with Patrik Schick who has since signed a new contract with Bayer Leverkusen.
However, this time I was much less frustrated. It all has to do with a different view than I had on Schick’s and Arsenal’s forward-hunting profile hitting home.
I was assured in myself that with Eddie Nketiah, or another similar striker if he was gone, at the club that the move for a physically contrasting striker with more of an aerial threat was essential. Arsenal lack presence in the air since the departure of Olivier Giroud.
Still, that didn’t stop them from slashing cross after cross into the box. Gabriel Magalhaes was the league’s most scored centre-half. Not surprising given that all of Arsenal’s corners were aimed at the Brazilian.
Even now, it makes sense to me that Arsenal would move for a threatening aerial striker. However, it looks like Mikel Arteta has chosen a different path.
Responding to a question about whether Nketiah’s potential new deal would preclude two more signings in the same role in David Ornstein’s most recent Athletic article, the reporter actually shot the prospect. He wrote: “I’m out but as far as I know Jesus and Nketiah are the current priority/plan.”
“Current” means that things may change but the information corresponds to football.london’s understand that Jesus is high on the club’s wish list. Jesus, like Nketiah, is a small forward whose strengths lie not in the air but with the ball at his feet.
This is where the aforementioned different perspective comes into play. The idea of a contrasting striker benefiting Arsenal was clear.
However, having two similar attackers also has a big advantage. Arsenal play with a one striker system and replacing Jesus and Nketiah in four competitions next season would mean little to no change in the way Arsenal would play.
Changing the attacker profile and buildup should cater to specific attacker characteristics. However, switching between two similar forwards and form and momentum can continue with relative ease.
Jesus was involved in this style of spinning under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. He previously rotated with Sergio Aguero, another smaller striker. Since then, he has traded with Phil Foden and Jack Grealish for the central top-three position at City.
Liverpool have used Diogo Jota, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino in the centre. Three players that you would hardly describe as physically imposing. The success of these two teams in winning all the trophies the English game has to offer this season is unsurprising given this dynamic of attacking options. Maybe then it’s only fair that Mikel Arteta wants to follow that mold too and have attackers who fit the same parameters?
If a deal for Jesus happens, next season will hopefully provide an answer as to whether it worked. If not, you can be sure there will be criticism.
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