The big news of last week for Arsenal was that they signed a contract extension with Emirates that will total 150 million pounds over the course of five years to keep the airline company’s name on the front of Arsenal jerseys. For the Gunners this is a huge financial bonus that has fans crying for manager Arsene Wenger to buy some new additions to the squad. Almost immediately after the big money move for the club was announced, it seemed rumors began to spread that Arsenal may be looking to sign Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Personally, I see this as the perfect move for both the player and team.
Huntelaar is a wonderful Dutch striker playing for Schalke 04 in Germany’s Bundesliga. Last season he scored an astounding 48 goals in 47 total matches in all competitions. He led the Budesliga with 29 goals, and helped his side reach the UEFA Champions League. Facing Arsenal in the tournament’s group stage, Huntelaar scored twice in two matches, and his team earned four points off of the Gunners to take control of their group. Apparently he caught the eye of Wenger in those games.
With his contract set to expire at season’s end, a move seems perfect. Arsenal needs to replace striker Robin van Persie, now of Manchester United. Huntelaar has always been the number two man for the Netherlands in international matches, and if he could become the new top man in England, he might just usurp that position. He would have every opportunity to compete against his compatriot, and if he led Arsenal to glory, what Dutch coach could deny his starting role? This is the perfect way for Huntelaar to emerge from Van Persie’s shadow!
For Arsenal the move is a no-brainer as well. Although the team recently purchased forwards Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud over the summer, only Giroud is a true striker. And Giroud even stated upon arriving at the club that he didn’t intend to replace Van Persie. Giroud is a good striker with a large stature, but currently Arsenal has no real depth behind him. The option used so far this season has been the erratic Gervinho, whose play is best suited for the wing.
Think of the strikers at Arsenal’s competitors: Manchester City houses Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli, Edin Dzeko, and Carlos Tevez (4 world-class strikers!). United boast a forward trio of Van Persie, Wayne Rooney, and Javier Hernandez. Arsenal just has Giroud.
After their grand announcement of the new Emirates deal, the team stumbled to a 0-0 draw against Aston Villa. Goal scoring has been a touchy subject for the Gunners this season. They are tied for just fifth in the EPL with 23 goals from 13 matches. This is the same mark as teams like West Bromwich, Everton, and Tottenham; not the stuff you’d expect from a team with a history like Arsenal.
Huntelaar brings experience and talent to the team. He has been described by Dutch manager Louis van Gaal, as the “best player in the world, bar none (in the penalty box).” At age 29, he is in his absolute prime and has played for many prestigious clubs including Real Madrid and AC Milan. If he brings his talents to North London, Arsenal could once again have a fearsome attack, and Huntelaar may well be on his way to earning a starting spot for his national team. Although Schalke may hold onto him until summer based on their good Champions League form, Huntelaar would be wise to join Arsenal sometime soon.