Amidst what will be seen as yet another poor summer for Arsenal having lost last year’s two best players in Robin van Persie and Alex Song, it is sometimes forgotten that they have brought in three great players that can more than cover up for the departures and step up to prove fruitful for the Gunners.
Arsenal’s first signing of the summer was to bring in Polish born, German striker, Lukas Podolski. Arsenal paid in the region of 10 million – 11 million for the youngest German player to play 100 games, and it is money well spent. Podolski can play up the middle, or on the left wing, where he plays for the German national team. His tally of 10 goals in 17 Bundesliga games after breaking through at Cologne had earned him international recognition and Podolski took the admirable decision to remain with the club despite their relegation that summer, scoring a league best 24 goals as they secured promotion at the first attempt. A second relegation had already spelt the end of his Cologne career prior to World Cup 2006, but a move to Bayern Munich never really worked out as he was forced to make do with a place on the substitutes’ bench on numerous occasions in the following three seasons.
Podolski then rejoined Cologne in 2009, but another relegation at the end of 2011-12 saw him leave for Arsenal. Podolski boasts real pace and he has shown time and again on the international stage that he has the composure and quality required of any top striker. A cultured finisher, Podolski also has a creative streak and links up well with his team-mates, which has shown in his first three games in an Arsenal shirt. Although not quite on Van Persie’s level, Podolski is a fantastic player, who will do well in the red and white of Arsenal, and his goal and assist in the game against Liverpool shows this.
Olivier Giroud signed for Arsenal from Montpellier, after spending years in the lower divisions in France. In his first campaign at Montpellier, he netted 12 times in his first season in Ligue 1. It was in the following term, though, that Giroud announced himself as an excellent forward when leading the line. He spearheaded Montpellier’s Ligue 1 title success – the club’s first ever title – scoring 21 goals in 36 appearances and also notching nine assists.
This superb season saw him earn the French golden boat, and this summer, Arsenal acquired him for a fee in the region of £12 million. Despite a goalless first three games for Giroud, he will prove to be a good player for Arsenal, he makes exceptional runs, and once he gets his first goal, it will be the start of many. Giroud, along with Podolski, will do well as Arsenal’s strikers in the coming years.
By far Arsenal’s best signing in a long time, Cazorla, one of the surprise names in the victorious 23-man Spain squad for Euro 2008, benefited from the fine form that helped Villarreal claim an impressive runners-up finish in the Spanish league that year and continued to impress over the next few years at the club. Therefore, Cazorla attracted the attention of newly-rich Malaga who paid €21 million for him in 2011, before their financial issues saw them sell with Arsenal the team to win his signature for around £15 million.
Cazorla is a versatile player, who can play either on the wing or in a false number nine role, in attacking midfield. He’s quick, agile, and has superb vision to pick out wonderful passes with both his feet, he’s also well known for his long shot and free kick ability. Cazorla is a truly exceptional player, and will do fantastically well for Arsenal so long as he isn’t wasted on the wing, as his qualities as an attacking midfielder shine through. Cazorla has also hit the ground running at Arsenal, a goal and an assist in his first three games for Arsenal, two of which he received the Man of the Match award.
Although Arsenal have lost Song and Van Persie this summer, fans will be comforted by the signings of these three, who boast great talents. Cazorla may prove to be the signing of the season, and Podolski and Giroud won’t do too shabbily either, who are both great players. However, along with these three, Wilshere will be like a new player for Arsenal in October when he’s scheduled to come back. Wilshere is one of, if not the best, young midfielder in the Premier League, and if he carries on from where he left off, Arsenal fans will forget all about Robin Van Persie and Alex Song, as they’ll be appreciating the talented midfield and forward line consisting of three new players, and Wilshere, who will be like a new signing. Promising signs for Arsenal.
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