Leading strikers are in Gunners' sights as current front-man Olivier Giroud gets special treatment over crucial winter period.
|Hot shots: Arsenal have their eye on Javier Hernandez, Edin Dzeko and Karim Benzema|
Arsenal are monitoring Karim Benzema, Edin Dzeko and Javier Hernández in the hope of still making a major signing in January, with Olivier Giroud’s training schedule also being tailored to reduce the risk of injury.
Despite suffering occasional knee pain since the summer, Giroud has started every Premier League and Champions League game for Arsenal so far this season and is also now a regular in the France international squad.
With Nicklas Bendtner currently providing limited competition in the striker position, manager Arsène Wenger knows how reliant Arsenal have been this season on Giroud and it is understood that he has even now modified the 27-year-old’s individual training programme.
Giroud, as well as Bacary Sagna and Laurent Koscielny, are with France on Friday night for their World Cup play-off against Ukraine and Wenger has noted that three of his key players are involved in potentially draining international fixtures.
The situation regarding Giroud is the main concern and, although he was excellent for Arsenal in their recent 1-0 win over Borussia Dortmund, he looked more jaded against Manchester United on Sunday.
“He’s also playing game after game and hasn’t had a rest, so maybe he’s feeling a bit of fatigue,” said Koscielny.
“He’s very important for us – strong and always answers the call on the pitch. If you look at the games, he weighs enormously on the opposition’s defence.
"All the balls he wins are in the air with his back to goal.”
Wenger made attempts to recruit Gonzalo Higuaíín, Luis Suárez, Wayne Rooney and Demba Ba during the summer transfer window and, although Bendtner stayed, he would ideally still like to add a striker of proven quality in January.
The difficulty is that so few players of that status will be available in the next window.
Although Dzeko and Hernández have struggled for first-team opportunities this season, it is hard to imagine either Manchester City or Manchester United being willing to strengthen Arsenal mid-season.
Benzema has been more involved for Madrid but, with only 18 months remaining on his contract, there is still a sense that an offer of around £30 million would be seriously considered in January.
Wenger has stressed that he is not desperate to recruit players mid-season but, even if he cannot make a major signing, short-term alternatives will be pursued.
Fernando Llorente has also been on Arsenal’s radar, although Juventus have stressed that the Spain striker would not be released either permanently or on loan.