Thierry Henry is right about 'brilliant' striker who could solve Arsenal crisis

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner
  • 22 Feb 2024 11:40 GMT
  • 4 min read
Thierry Henry, Arsenal

Arsenal will be in the market for a centre-forward in the summer transfer window, and while names like Victor Osimhen and Dusan Vlahovic will no doubt capture the imagination of fans, the Gunners may need to be more pragmatic.

Osimhen, after all, is primed to move to Chelsea, and while this situation could change between now and June, the Gunners are acutely aware how hard No.9s are to come by.

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A quick glance at the Gunners’ top scorer stats, though, shows that Arteta needs a goal-getter. It was a fact emphasised in their 1-0 loss against Porto in the Champions League.

Bukayo Saka is out in front for Arteta’s side this season on 15 while Leandro Trossard is the only player on their books who averages better than one goal every 180 minutes.

Contrast this to Premier League leaders Liverpool, who have Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota, Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo all finding the net at least once every couple of games.

Manchester City are slightly less impressive but still have Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez finding scoring at a rate of better than one every two.

Bukayo Saka is Arsenal's top scorer on 15 goals this season
© IMAGO - Bukayo Saka is Arsenal's top scorer on 15 goals this season

Solanke suits Arsenal

To this end, Arteta would be well advised to look towards Dominic Solanke as a wildcard solution in the summer.

It is a move that Arsenal's all-time top scorer Thierry Henry seems to endorse.

"What he’s doing right now is brilliant. Not only him but I’m happy for him because he did struggle for a little bit, now he’s looking good," Henry told Bournemouth's official website.

The 26-year-old is forecast to leave Bournemouth in the summer, with West Ham looking at him. He may be able to look further up the league for his next club though.

He checks the box of Premier League experience, which the Arsenal manager appreciates.

Premier League top scorers

Player Team Goals
Erling HaalandMan City17
Mohamed SalahLiverpool15
Dominic SolankeBournemouth14
Ollie WatkinsAston Villa13
Bukayo SakaArsenal12
Son Heung-minTottenham12
Jarrod BowenWest Ham11
Alexander IsakNewcastle10
Hwang Hee-chanWolves10
Cole PalmerChelsea10
Elijah AdebayoLuton Town9
Diogo JotaLiverpool9
Darwin NunezLiverpool9
Matheus CunhaWolves9
Joao PedroBrighton8
Anthony GordonNewcastle8
Chris WoodNottingham Forest8
Phil FodenMan City8
Julian AlvarezMan City8
Callum WilsonNewcastle7
Douglas LuizAston Villa7
Scott McTominayMan Utd7
Rasmus HojlundMan Utd7
Bryan MbeumoBrentford7
Nicolas JacksonChelsea7
Carlton MorrisLuton Town7
Mohammed KudusWest Ham6
Odsonne EdouardCrystal Palace6
Evan FergusonBrighton6

In scoring 0.59 goals per 90 for a Bournemouth side that has spent much of the season battling relegation, his campaign has been nothing short of outstanding.

Most promisingly for the Gunners, data firm SciSports show that he is suited to playing for them.

Using its Career Advice tool, Arsenal are given a Club Fit score of 79 by the analytics experts. This is comprised of looking at many different factors, including playing time, potential development, playing style and formation.

Arsenal’s score is slightly behind Aston Villa, Real Madrid and Newcastle as Solanke’s best options, but it is still a very good score if he wishes to be ambitious at this point of his career.

Indeed, the Gunners would rate higher but playing time gets only one out of a possible five stars.

Arteta could use a tool of Solanke’s skills at times, though. This was evident against Porto when they foundered in front of goal and failed to get a shot on target over the course of the match.

With an Estimated Transfer Value (ETV) of €30.3m, he would be far cheaper than a higher-profile alternative like Osimhen or Vlahovic, yet for Arsenal’s purposes, he could be perfect.

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