Saturday, June 25

Per Mertesacker hints at Arsenal striker decision

Per Mertesacker hints at Arsenal striker decision ahead of transfer window Per Mertesacker hints at Arsenal striker decision ahead of transfer window

Per Mertesacker before the FA Cup final

Arsenal’s striker crisis

Arsenal’s transfer business next summer seems to be strongly predicated on the need for a striker

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has struggled in front of goal so far this season, with his latest high-profile miss against Newcastle United 12 days ago, and a no-show performance against Manchester United, summing up his difficulties at present.

Worse yet, he was overlooked by Arteta when chasing the game against Everton, with Eddie Nketiah being brought on before the Gabon star, despite Nketiah having rejected a new contract the week before and being due to leave on a free in the summer. Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal’s other big money forward, is in the same boat.

This leaves only Folarin Balogun able to operate through the middle, and despite continuing to impress at underage level, he has made just one senior Premier League appearance, suggesting that perhaps the youngster is not ready to assume the Aubameyang mantle just yet.

“Most likely will go on loan”

Speaking at a meeting of the Arsenal supporters trust, Arsenal’s former captain and now Academy head Per Mertesacker shed some light on the Arsenal striker situation.

Asked about who he thinks is next to follow in the footsteps of huge successes Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe by making the step up from the academy to the first team, Mertesacker revealed:

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“I think the closest, at the moment, to make that step is Flo Balogun”

He continued:

“He’s transferred in to the first team dressing room. He still plays 23s football and probably most likely will go on loan in January because you need extra exposure to get to that next level so he needs to make that transition.”

Should Balogun depart, it offers an explanation into why Eddie Nketiah is still seeing gametime despite turning down a new contract at the club. Put simply, when Aubameyang leaves for the Africa Cup of Nations, he will be vying with Lacazette for a first team spot.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 15 23 35
2 Liverpool FC 15 32 34
3 Chelsea FC 15 26 33
4 West Ham United 15 9 27
5 Tottenham Hotspur 14 -1 25
6 Manchester United 15 1 24
7 Arsenal FC 15 -4 23
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 15 -1 21
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 15 -2 20
10 Aston Villa 15 -3 19
11 Leicester City 15 -4 19
12 Everton FC 15 -6 18
13 Brentford FC 15 -2 17
14 Crystal Palace 15 -2 16
15 Leeds United 15 -7 16
16 Southampton FC 15 -7 16
17 Watford FC 15 -9 13
18 Burnley FC 14 -7 10
19 Newcastle United 15 -13 10
20 Norwich City 15 -23 10
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Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 13
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 6
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 6
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 6
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 6
Raphinha Leeds United 6
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United 6
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 6
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 5
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 5
King, Joshua Watford FC 5
Gray, Demarai Everton FC 5
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 5
Pukki, Teemu Norwich City 5
Cornet, Maxwel Burnley FC 5
Sarr, Ismaila Watford FC 5
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