Posted on Friday, 30th December 2011 by David Seager
So much will be written about the return of Thierry Henry and rightly so, but I would like to look at this amazing story from a new angle.
There are many reasons in my opinion as to why Arsene Wenger may only opt to strengthen the forward line with Henry in this window. The obvious one is that the Henry loan spell will neatly coincide with the absence of Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho for the African Cup of Nations. I also believe that whilst many commentators seem to feel Robin van Persie wants to see us sign top stars to convince him of our intent, this is not necessarily practical. My question has always been – why would an established international striker such as Podolski want to come to a team who have for several seasons now, with no sign of change, played with one central striker and two wingers? I am sure Robin is well aware of this dilemma and will understand the position it puts his manager in.
So to my mind the marquee centre forward signing is perhaps unlikely. However, I would like to think that Wenger’s decision on Henry, and the time it is buying him, is not just linked to the absence of his two African attackers. I fervently hope that another consideration is the return to fitness of one Benik Afobe. After starring on loan for Huddersfield last season, Benik was rewarded by Wenger with a new long-term contract and promotion to the first team squad for 2011/12. Afobe was even withdrawn from the England under-20′s squad in the summer to play for the first-term pre-season, so we must surmise that Wenger had high hopes for Benik for this term. Sadly for Wenger and Afobe a serious groin injury ruled the youngster out in September for a minimum of four months, but I hear he is back in light training now.
I know promoting from within seems unpopular these days with everyone wanting to pay big bucks for the instant hit, but let’s remind ourselves that most experts are predicting that both Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck will go to the Euros after their first full seasons playing for their own team in the Premier League. These guys are playing regularly and keeping the likes of Fernando Torres and Dimitar Berbatov on the bench. Sometimes you just need to throw the youngsters in there and truly find out, as we did with Jack Wilshere only last year, if they are truly good enough. Certainly in the case of Benik Afobe he has absolutely all the credentials.
Benik joined us aged six and has broken scoring records ever since. He played for the Under-16′s side when he was 13 and scored over 120 goals for that team, including an incredible 40 in 33 games in the 2007/08 season.
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Tags: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arsene Wenger, Benik Afobe, Chukls Aneke, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck, Gervinho, Jack Wilshere, Marouanne Chamakh, Robin Van Persie, Thierry Henry
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