With the January transfer window open for business and Arsenal inevitably being linked with new names everyday, Olivier Giroud has suggested our squad is strong enough to win the title as it stands.
Speaking after the win over Newcastle on Saturday, and reportedly in response to Alan Shearer’s opinion that we need a new central defender, defensive midfielder and striker, Giroud said:
Tell me where (Arsenal need strengthening)! Just tell me where! I will explain the opposite judgement. We have very good players as well on the bench, young players waiting to come in. They are very talented. I am not worried about it. Danny Welbeck will come back in a month and a half. Theo Walcott can play up front, Joel Campbell is doing well with his national team up front. If I am less good or get injured, we still have a solution.
Whilst it’s great to hear the big striker being so complimentary about his team-mates, I think if the opportunity to buy a Luis Suarez, a Robert Lewandowski or a Gonzalo Higuain presented itself, we’d be all over it.
Perhaps it was the Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang-to-Arsenal rumours doing the rounds on Saturday that played a part in Giroud being so adamant that we’re sufficiently-stocked up front, seeing as he’d likely lose his place in the starting line-up to such a big-money arrival, but I’m not sure I agree with Oli to be honest.
It was nice of him to provide a time-frame for Danny Welbeck’s return, but as he says, that’s six weeks away and given how long he’ll have been out, it’s unlikely we’ll see the best of him until next season. Theo Walcott has shown he can play upfront this season but Joel Campbell is unproven in that position for us, even if he does play there for his country.
All of which means if Giroud or Walcott pick up an injury, we’re a little bit f*cked up front. So if we can snare an Aubamayang mid-season, we should definitely be looking to do it in my opinion. Giroud also admitted Arsenal would be signing a new player – “an Egyptian one” – referring of course to Mohamed Elneny’s imminent arrival from Basel.
And our number 12 then spoke about the experience in this Arsenal squad, including his own of winning a league title in France, and suggested we have the right blend age-wise. He said:
To be a champion, I know [what it takes] because I was a champion with Montpellier. You need a bit of luck and sometimes you cannot play a fantastic game [but you need to win] and even more so because Manchester City are doing well. If I can advise the young players I will do it. We have a couple of experienced players like Mathieu Flamini, Petr Cech and people like that. We have a good mixture of experienced players and young players and the older ones bring confidence to the youngest and lead them. That is what I try to do sometimes – always encourage and in a nice way show them the best solution. It is very important in a group to say things to carry on with what we have. We are really pleased with the [Newcastle] win and it shows we have that mental strength and character.
Nothing to disagree with in that at all and again, it’s great to hear that the older pros in our squad are seemingly relishing the role of guiding along their younger team-mates.
Something so many of our squads have lacked since we moved to Emirates stadium is the right level of maturity and it’s widely considered the single biggest factor in our relative lack of success in that time. We’ve always had the talent, just not the ‘know-how’. Our performances so far this season, most of them anyway, suggest we’ve finally found the right mix. But we still have to prove it …
And on that note, I’ll leave it there.
See you on Tuesday.