As most Arsenal fans have had to accept over the last decade, the African Cup of Nations takes place every 2 years, at the midway point of the Premier League season. And the tournament is set to kick off again early next year, when the 2012 finals start in January.
The qualifying stages are well underway, but are slowly drawing to a close, with the finals just over 5 months away now. The tournament will be co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, and will take place between January 21 – February 12 next year.
I’ll move on, and get to my point immediately. After all, time is of the essence.
Arsenal need to buy a new striker before the end of this summer transfer window. But with just over 2 weeks left of the current window, time is running out.
Arsene Wenger has just three proper strikers at his disposal – assuming that Nicklas Bendtner and Carlos Vela will both leave the club this summer.
Robin van Persie, Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho – two of which are likely to go away in January to represent their respective countries at the African Cup of Nations.
The Ivory Coast have already qualified, by winning Group H, after winning all 4 of their group games. Assuming the Ivory Coast will go far in the tournament, that means that Arsenal new boy Gervinho, will be absent for nearly an entire month next year.
Morocco are currently top of Group D, and it’s likely that they will qualify for the finals. It is expected that Marouane Chamakh will be joining Gervinho, and will also head to Africa to represent his country in January.
That leaves Robin van Persie on his own as the only proper striker at the club, unless you want Carlos Vela and Nicklas Bendtner sticking around – or alternatively, you are happy with Andrei Arshavin playing up top on his own again?
As you can probably tell from my tone, I am desperate for Arsene to invest in a new striker. I wouldn’t be happy if we were to play wingers and midfielders upfront again. We only did that last year, because we were forced to do so. This time round, we have a choice, so we shouldn’t have to experience that again.
Additionally, I hate to say it but no Arsenal fan can run from the fact that it’s very unlikely that Robin van Persie will be able to last a full season, without picking up any significant injuries.
As much as I love van Persie, I just can’t see him playing a whole month, without picking up any strains or sprains. Like the transfer of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona, it’s something we’ve all had to accept.
Ultimately, Vela could stay and dare I say it, so could Bendtner. But then again, would you be happy with that scenario?
I will assume that some people will say that we can wait until January – and part of me can accept that. By then, we’ll know who’s away and who’s not, and will be able to take the appropriate action.
But if it turned out that we needed to invest in a new striker, he would have to settle in immediately.
As much as I like the prospect of us signing a player who would adapt to the Premier League so swiftly, I just can’t see it happening. It’s incredibly rare for a player to come in, and settle down that quickly – no matter how good they are.
But more importantly, after a long and arduous summer, we finally have access to the Cesc fund, so surely we could use some (if not, all?) of the cash on a new a striker to come in?