Former Arsenal striker Alan Smith has sent a warning message to Mikel Arteta and Edu, who have a key transfer decision to make in the coming months.
After Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was stripped of the captaincy this week due to multiple disciplinary breaches, the future of the centre-forward position has been thrown into doubt.
Alexandre Lacazette is starting in place of Aubameyang and has impressed in recent outings with a goal and assist, but he is on the wrong side of 30 and in the last year of his contract, meaning he will either leave in the summer or sign a short-term deal. Either way, he is not the long-term answer to the problem.
Aubameyang, who will turn 33 at the end of the season, is also seemingly on his way out of the club after Arteta confirmed today he is unavailable for selection for tomorrow’s game against Leeds United, the third consecutive time he has not been selected in the matchday squad.
It leaves Arsenal with a big decision to make, and Smith has warned Edu and Arteta they must get it right.
“It’s a problem and a problem Arteta didn’t need, but now it’s a big challenge for Arsenal to rebuild their attack and it is going to depend on some very clever and inspired recruitment,” he told Sky Sports.
“The striker position looks to be a gaping hole in the squad that needs to be filled, no matter what happened with Aubameyang and happens with the other strikers in the squad.
“I’m sure they are very busy in the recruitment department, the analysts and others scouring the world to see what is out there.
“What I would say about Arsenal is that their recruitment department seems to be much more efficient now and more successful when you look at Takehiro Tomiyasu, Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga.
“Ben White has also come into his own, albeit for £50million, but the other lads were relatively cheap and they seem to be buying better in general.
“Of course, it’s harder to do that when it comes to a striker because everyone is after that next striker at a decent price, so they are going to have to be sharp in the transfer market.”
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On how this could shape Arteta’s time at the club, Smith concluded: “It’s a big call for Arsenal. It’s a big moment in Arteta’s management at Arsenal and it will be a big factor in where he goes from here… It’s certainly going to be a big decision, however, and it will be fascinating to see who they go for in the end.”
How Arsenal choose to solve the striker position remains to be seen, but make no mistake, it is a massive decision that they – and Arteta and Edu specifically – cannot afford to get wrong.
Source by Football London