Gunners fans went in to the January transfer window with high expectations, with their team challenging for the Premier League title off the back of their blockbuster capture of Real Madrid's German playmaker Mesut Ozil. Whilst another £40m signing was targeted in the shape of Schalke's Julian Draxler, it always seemed unlikely that manager Arsene Wenger would be able to land another star player in the middle of the season.
Instead, he looked to solve his midfield injury crisis with the addition of Swedish international Kallstrom, only to end up back to square one as the 31-year-old suffered a back injury in his first training session, leaving Arsenal short in midfield once again.
But one position Arsenal fans were hoping to see reinforcements in was up front, where French international Olivier Giroud has carried almost the entire workload throughout the season, with Nicklas Bendtner offering little in the way of reliability. The likes of Diego Costa, Mirko Vucinic and Miroslav Klose were strongly linked with moves to the Emirates Stadium, but nothing materialised as Wenger chose to avoid the transfer market and stick with what he has.
Yet there were certainly strikers available who could have taken some of the pressure off Giroud, with a number of them moving to the Premier League. Lacina Traore would have been a sensible short-term solution before his loan move from Monaco to Everton, whilst Olympiacos hitman Kostas Mitroglou, a rumoured target for Wenger, moved to Fulham for £12.4m – which could be classed as a great deal when you consider that the 25-year-old has scored 17 goals in just 19 games for the Greek side this season.
But a player that Arsenal may have missed out on is Venezuelan international Jose Salomon Rondon, who left Rubin Kazan for Zenit St. Petersburg in a £15m deadline day deal. Arsenal have been credited with an interest in the former Malaga striker recently, and the 24-year-old has the power, pace and finishing ability to be a success in the Premier League. 10 goals in 16 games for Rubin this season show how much potential Rondon has, and could have been the perfect foil for Giroud in the Arsenal attack.
Rubin were forced into his sale amidst financial problems, and whilst Rondon may have wanted to stay in Russia rather than leave the country, there is also the possibility that Arsenal could have landed him for less than £15m as a result of not being a divisional rival. Yet now, Arsenal will have to play out the rest of the season with Giroud and Bendtner as their firepower – will it be enough to clinch the title or did Wenger miss a trick?
Should Arsenal have moved for Rondon?
image: © aalarcon