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 Posted by John Cross
Aug 29, 2014

Arsenal must add to attacking options

Dennis Bergkamp scored a memorable goal for Arsenal against Leicester in August 1997.

Arsene Wenger has claimed Dennis Bergkamp's famous goal at Leicester is one of the best he has seen during his career. Bergkamp's third goal in his hat trick in a 3-3 draw at Filbert Street in August 1997 will go down as one of the best in Premier League history.

How times have changed for Arsenal. What they wouldn't do for a striker of the quality of Bergkamp now.

Funnily enough, a draw probably wouldn't be seen as being enough on Sunday even though Arsenal went on to win the title that season after their 3-3 draw.

Of course, Leicester have moved stadiums since then but the challenges remain the same as they need a win to keep their promising start rolling again. They've got four points from Crystal Palace and Everton, but making a really strong start can set up the whole season.

Arsenal, opening-day defeat to Aston Villa apart, got off to a flier last year and it was the foundation for their title challenge.

But the biggest dilemma facing Arsenal now is about a striker. Olivier Giroud is out until the new year, and back in that title-winning season of 1997-98 they had Bergkamp, Ian Wright and Nicolas Anelka.

Now they have Alexis Sanchez, who is a world-class forward, but is he strong enough to play as a centre-forward all season in the Premier League? Then there are Yaya Sanogo, Joel Campbell, Theo Walcott (although he's still out for a while yet) and Lukas Podolski. But of course, Wenger doesn't believe Podolski is really a centre-forward.

I'm not sure that Arsenal have enough experience, options and ready-made quality there to sustain a title challenge until May.

Giroud has been an undervalued and underrated player throughout his time at Arsenal as he is an old fashioned centre-forward who can score goals and provide flick-ons and chances for teammates.

I think he would have started most games up front for Arsenal this season, and the fact is they haven't got enough backup now that he is facing a long spell out.

Alexis Sanchez is a high quality player, but more options are needed.

I'm sure Arsenal will do some business in the transfer window. A centre-half is a must to back up the squad, let alone another midfielder, but it really should be three players as they need a striker to come in and fill a gap. Strikers will always be the hardest deals to get done. They're in short supply, and goal scorers are expensive.

But it perhaps highlights the fact that there was a gap in the squad anyway. Arsenal needed one more forward even before Giroud got injured. Just think about it. Nicklas Bendtner went in the summer, having played last season. Walcott is coming back from a long-term injury. And that means they are short of options.

In my view, Loic Remy would be perfect. Cheap at 8.5 million pounds, he can play wide as well as through the middle and is a proven goal scorer in the Premier League. He can also run in behind defences.

Look at the options Arsenal have compared to even Liverpool. Liverpool have more depth and quality strikers -- Arsenal look threadbare and inexperienced by comparison.

Alexis will be a great signing but I still think the best of him may be seen alongside another centre-forward rather than him being the centre-forward.

It will be a test for Arsenal at Leicester, a newly promoted team and well organised. Arsenal will have tired legs after a gruelling game with Besiktas in midweek, but they need to dig deeper to get a result.

It may also show once again that Arsenal need more ready-made options up front. They struggled to score against Besiktas, and if that happens again at Leicester then it only further highlights the need for a striker.

John Cross

John Cross is a football reporter for the Daily Mirror. He's been at the Mirror for 15 years. He regularly covers Arsenal and has done throughout Arsene Wenger's reign. Follow John on Twitter @johncrossmirror.

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