Do We Really Need A Direct Replacement For Henry?

Theo Walcott was quoted in the Sunday Express yesterday, talking about his expectations for the coming season. The premise for the ‘story’ was his request that supporters give him time and do not expect ‘miracles’ or him to be a direct replacement for Thierry Henry. I have yet to see anyone say that but it is a fair point to raise; Walcott is about four years off being a regular twenty goals a season man, in my opinion anyway. He noted that his own targets for the coming season are,

I want to get 10 goals next season and I would like to make 20 or 25 starts

Which is a fair personal goal to set yourself. But it raises an interesting question to my mind, namely if Arsene decides not replace TH14 directly, are there enough goals in the squad to sustain a challenge for the title. Your initial reaction may be same as mine, ‘not bleeding likely’ but is Arsene so wrong if he opts not to sign a striker. In terms of numbers, there are four at the Club and that ought to be enough. The problem is that two of them are untested as forwards at the highest level and with Adebayor at the African Cup of Nations in the Winter, that will put an awful lot of pressure onto the shoulders of Bendtner and Walcott to score in his absence.

In this day and age of rotating squads, signing another forward ought not to be a problem but Arsene is not going to spend £10m plus to have that person sitting on the bench every other week; the expectation is that this player will fill one of the forward berths in the starting line up so who would make way? It is a tough decision but having performed well, it is harsh to say Adebayor should make way but equally, RvP was on fire before his injury so surely he has earned the right to replicate that form? Both of them are capable of scoring fifteen to twenty goals in a Premiership season so lets ‘play safe’ and say their combined total comes to thirty five. If you assume that to challenge for the title, you need to score 70 goals or more, that means the rest of the squad has to chip with a conservative estimate exceeding thirty five goals. Walcott could conceivably hit five to ten of those if he were to be utilised in twenty or more games, Bendtner perhaps five from the bench; say, twenty five to go.

With Gilberto seemingly likely to retain the penalty taking rights, there is no reason why ten goals in not an unrealistic total for him. The manner of Arsenal’s attacking play invites rash tackles in the area on a reasonably regular basis so six or seven penalties converted is feasible. Which means that the remainder of the players have fifteen or more goals to contribute, three a season for everyone ought to take the tally beyond seventy quite comfortably. So why is it that we – the supporters – are ‘hell bent’ on getting Arsene to sign a ‘star’ striker. Is it in fact that which we want or is it just the ‘star’ bit we are genuinely after.

However, last season proved that this tally cannot be taken for granted; too many of the players underperformed in front of goal to have confidence that seventy is a tally that can be reached comfortably. Yet Manchester United proved that your centre-forward does not need to be the prime source of goals. When van Nistelrooy left, their title chances were written off, where were the goals coming from? An unlikely source to get twenty over the season was Ronaldo but he delivered. Can RvP do the same for us this season? If he is to do this, he will need decent service. The fundamental difference between Arsenal’s ‘attacking’ players and their United counterparts is the ability to convert chances; United play more directly in the final third, their midfielders more willing to shoot than to create, if the opportunity arises.

For Arsenal to launch a title challenge without replacing Henry, more selfishness in front of goal is required. See the whites of the keepers eyes, shoot; don’t put in another pass because you lack confidence. That is an easy thing to say but it is a necessity. Can they do it though? Drogba seems to think not; Lampard more circumspect. If Arsene wants motivational ‘tools’, cut Drogba’s quote out and stick it on the walls of the dressing room as Graham did with, I think, a Souness quote in 1989. Worked wonders if my memory serves correctly.

I guess the question is, am I convinced by my own argument. Not entirely, primarily because of the goals record in the last four months of 2006 – 07 but perhaps the future is not as bleak as we are trying to talk ourselves into believing it is.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on July 2, 2007, in Arsenal, Football, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 53 Comments.

  1. Your facts are much better explanation for me to counter-argue with the rest of the anti-Gunners around me. No superstars, no worries….just keep the faith in our Arsene.

  2. The likelihood of replacing from within is almost 50:50. Walcott could surprise a few, though Im always weary of a gamble.

    My similar sentiments are here, as well:

  3. Though I think we do need another forward it is a very good point you make. ManU scored the most goals in the premiership last season – Rooney got 14 of them and Ronaldo 17. The rest, 52 in total, were shared out amongst 15 other players. While some will scoff that our forwards are too young it is worth noting that when last season kicked off Rooney was 20 and Ronaldo 21.

    We have depended too much on one players goals for a few seasons. We need to spread the responsibility but based on last season it is hard to feel entirely confident that we have enough goals from different areas.


    Guys its simple AW needs to put his hands in his pockets and purchase TEVES we need that type of player to challenge for the title.

  5. Seems like Arsene has pulled another mysterious rabbit out of the proverbial hat:
    Who’s he? Does anyone know? We all desperately want to know don’t we!

  6. His Wiki entry says this is true & also that he has what can only be described as a ‘scoring touch’:
    83 goals in 119 club appearances
    7 in 12 Full internationals
    8 in 12 U-21’s.
    No idea of fee.

    Oh and knows how to score past Paul Robinson having scored Croatia’s first in their 2 – 0 win over England


    But could be another Kezman :((((
    Time will tell…

  8. Last Summer I “campaigned” very hard for us to sign Obafemi Martins from Inter. It was clear to me from the 05/06 season that we clearly needed a true centre-forward to reduce the load on Henry. If u take a look at the bulk of the players from the unbeaten season thru 05/06, ALL of them have had some niggling or season-stifling injury before and/or after leaving Arsenal all, in my view, from being OVERPLAYED (Lauren, Pires, Edu, Vieira, Cole, Campbell, Gilberto, Reyes, Henry). Based on this theory the last man standing, Kolo Toure, should be out injured sometime during this season. I bring this up to emphasize the point that regardless of how “well” the young guns played last year we do need REINFORCEMENTS to alleviate the average player wear & tear.
    At least 3 players with enough pedigree and experience should do the trick.

    GOAL POACHER: e.g, Martins/Tevez/Anelka/Lita or other. A driven shoot first-pass later type, v.good header of the ball, good with both feet and disciplined!
    (In my view Pires played this role even better than TH14 whose style carries on somewhat in Adebayor)

    MIDFIELD: If due to the Copa Captain Gilberto goes down we’ll be in for a very long season. So additional help is needed in midfield (personally I regret losing Flamini). An enthusiastically-hard, aggressive-but-crafty type to co-enforce the middle for Fab, Denilson, Diaby (& Song) with Captain G.

    DEFENCE: Sagna wants in. Lets do it….

  9. Silver

    I think we ought to give the lad a chance before we tar him with that brush…be enthusiastic, there is activity on the transfer front which is what everyone wanted. Isn’t it?



    Agreed Yogi W by nature I am naturaly pesimistic but have just seen some you tube footage from his time in Croatia and looks rapid if a little lightweight.

    Perhaps i was too quick to judge

  11. NEED 15-20 GOALS ?
    if you want gaurrentted goals you really can only pool from last years top goal scorers in epl(drogba top scorer) ,safe bets all round , if any of them are on the list theres arsene’s replacements ! ive always voted for benni macarthy (no. 2 ) he’s same age as henry will get 15- 20 a year with us (and did for porto prior a CL winner too boot !) .. and make the youth top up the goal talley.he wouldnt cost the earth and maybe get Rigters ,drenthe ,babel. take the lot (future).. and of course sagna,you must say he will 90% join us this season leaving the left winger vacant still . again pool from the EPL . it still would be a bandaid fix .. but it should make us top 4 material ……………..

    i do hope theo fires this year i hope arsene gives him a decent run , and i hope the LiL F####r takes it with both hands.

    he’s now shooting for the top now and will no doubt be a RM player or ManU, if you think we still have a shot forget it , it takes REAL money … like torres(holy cow upto 58 mil.). tevez might side with the UK as he wouldnt be too uprooted , but the thrill of spain might take him as it has others . id prefer he goes to spain in all honesty, as he looked dangerous end of last season and dont really want manU to get hold of him .. it makes what we are trying to achieve this season so much harder . chevs will be very much the 2nd team if manU gets tevez .

    (or since owen really)
    have looked like they need a JET striker and they got him , and now we have a challenge on our hands , i think we always looked more capible of out scoring liverpoo the past few seasons ..
    now im not so sure .

    are kickin the boots in saying our CL days are numbered this is bollocks !, i hate meeting gits like that at a pub a bloody spuder ! we really need a ….

    someone like tevez , but i really think arsene thinks a little like yogi .. or should i say yogi is thinking like arsene ,and im not supprised if we dont get a replacement .. he would also argue why have so many strikers in the team already ..
    bentner ,theo,ade,rvp BUT WE WILL NEED A LEFT SIDED PLAYER upfront . so it makes choosing them harder in my opinion .

    ade going to the ‘anc’ i feel a replacement would be ‘A MUST !’ left down to 3 strikers for 6 weeks better hope none of them are injured . and you know IT WILL HAPPEN arsene likes to fully fully recover players as they are .. and if we are still in with a sniff and CL by that stage DEC. we will need more cover still . . .
    my answer is arsene will have to see the reasoning behind it and get a stiker .. if not a big name for confidence !

    even a semi – youth arsene bargain .

  12. My God are you ill?

  13. The real fact is we shall never find the replacememnt for TH14, there was only one of his type. Talking of replacement, i don’t see any player right now of his calibre. But, we can’t rule out the need for a striker who is tested. The strikers we have at the moment are all good, but trust only RvP to place the ball in the right place, the rest are good but they are not two figure goalscorers.

  14. The replacement is: EDUARDO SILVA!!!! *crowd roars*

    Anyways, why do we even bother with the transfer rumours:

    Wenger – you’ve got to love him, sometimes. Often, even.


    Ethan you have a few good points most notably that about benny mcarthy, who is one of the most underated strikers in the premiership.

    I hope this croatian striker is what we have been missing because it now unlikely we will go for teves as much as i woulcd like to have him at our club.

    Also at Blackburn is Morten Gamst Pederson who is surely one of the best left sided attacking midfielders outside the top 4 teams in the prem, would be great to have him.

    No one has talked about the fact that we are gonna loose Kolo Toure over winter break with international duty for Ivory coast will be a major loss for us , and i’m not convinced with senderos as he looks suspect against players with pace.

    Again i must mention Fran Merida, i hope to see this young prodigy in an arsenal shirt this season

  16. ethan_gooner

    well hows that da silva ! is the henry replacement !!!!!!!

    whoooaaa !!! good striker !

  17. ethan_gooner

    Do We Really Need A Direct Replacement For Henry?

    is yes yogi !!

  18. Silver

    Pedersen I am unconvinced by simply because he is not consistent enough. Merida though is one of the reasons why a left sided ‘winger’ may not be signed because he inhabits that side of the pitch. If is he is as good as he is expected to be then we may see him in action for the first team this season.

    I don’t think Toure is as big a problem as we think. Djourou is a very capable replacement, as is Gilberto if necessary. Whilst I believe Senderos can make a career of it at Arsenal, there seems to be some doubt in people’s minds. He is a confidence player and with a run in the side, I think he would prove people wrong.


  19. ethan_gooner

    well you know he can score at the emirates, so thats a start..
    34 croatian league goals = 20 + here (EPL)??? any thoughts

  20. Ethan

    Scoring in one country does not mean necessarily that you will be a success in another: Shevchenko is a prime example whilst Forlan and Kanoute hardly set the EPL alight did they?

    The lad may not be the immediate success everyone hopes for in which case the others have to deliver.


  21. IF Carlos Vela gets a fastrack passport in August instead of January we are in good shape,

    Playing in Croatia Silva is used to crappy winter weather.

    When Henry left the spanish AS paper said we would be getting abrazilian striker playing in Europe so they seem to know than our bullshit media

  22. I think this signing is very positive and typical of Wenger and Arsenal’s general trasfers. He’s by no means a direct replacement for Henry but if he, Adebayor and van Persie can all net 15 goals next season we will definitely be in good shape up front.

    I think another signing is due – very excited to see who it will be.


    Solgooner very good point about vela but i think he will need another season in spanish football before he can be awarded a spanish passport.

    Yogi i’m not convinced about Gilberto silva in defense looked a bit suspect when at the heart of the back 4 better in midfield, Djourou could do it as looks to be have the pace and the concentration level that senderos lacks.

    Well once we sign sagna we will have all bases covered with a replacement center back possibly the only issue alas i must trust AW as he has rarely been wrong in the past.


    Does anyone know how much this Brazilian Croat cost as standard AFC they have left the fee undisclosed.

  25. Welcome to your new life Eduardo Da Silva.
    Thanks AW…
    We await your next move…

  26. ethan_gooner

    I disagree Pedersen has always played well against us and
    with a far less able team at his side he has risen to the top most every time hes class, and would actually work , moments of flair down the left wing has been missing since pires -henry days . gamst would be a good solid choice -hes attacking and thats a good start !..Has EPL experience and he does look the only dangerious player they own ! Id like to see others fill the position personally but he would be a WISE choice …

    not sure of the fees thou ! Most struggling clubs like to OVER PRICE there biggest asset ! 🙂

    has always played well against us i must say and i think thats how you test how they would play for us .hes dangerious at times, and is better than we currently own !


    In addition pederson is a deadly freekick taker something we are gonna miss now TH14 has gone.


    Well I think the €24m is price tag is BS for Eduardo da Silva is fake.

    Skysports thinks this likely to be £8m.

  29. ethan_gooner

    i agree yogi,
    shever’s definately flopped but did you think moron-ho really wanted him it was that russian git romanov.?infact i dont think they ever saw eye to eye on that transfer …
    He knows as much about football as taksin shinnawat ! the stupid thieving crook ! (for anyone following that buy out
    if it doesnt fall flat on its face id be supprised ….because taksin was definately taxing THAILAND) only thing he’ll be managing if he comes back to thailand is 4 walls with bars on them .its crooked money from a poor country shame on him !..

    glad to see arsene grabbed some experience (24) not wet behind the ears maybe still a year or 2 off of his best …

    does anyone know the fee it was undisclosed … any rumours ?

  30. 6 – 8 mil euro seems to be the fee and not this 24 mil euro being reported. Seems about right for a player from that league who has made international level.

  31. ethan_gooner

    silver gooner denilson is a defensive midfeild player – i think arsene will be giving him a run any time gilberto is unable to play…

    just read bbc said it was 16.25 !

    they must of used henrys cash 🙂

  32. 6 – 8 mil euro or sterling ?? either one

  33. ethan_gooner

    34 goals in a season .. its a tough feat even in a crap leauge
    to score that amount.. and the croats have reasonable players , its a matter of adapting to the EPL . But arsene (or his scouts are quite sharp ) i dont think we will make the baptista mistake …Im sure theyve been researching him out for a while ,Hes still young ,but seasoned , i got a good feeling about him .. originally from brazil !! YES ! hole filled . OR POSITION FILLED
    the question is was reyes in the end a midfeilder or striker ..
    our next player will probly be in a reyes style mould ?.

    and we will still get sagna ? hopefully

    then spending spree over ?

  34. It is his Agent who said he thought it used the whole of the Henry transfer fee but he did not know what the actual fee was.

    I would be surprised if it were more than £8m.

  35. ethan_gooner

    also he has scored 16 from 33 appearances for his national team


    Yeah the Baptista mistake could have been costly so glad Real Madrid have his poo ass.

    And you are right any striker( da silva) that can score 34 goals in any division is going to be a formidable aquisition, but BBC like other websites are quoting £16.25 this can’t be right for a relative unknown to those outside eastern europe.

    Ethan Denilson is still young and still learning his trade in the EPL, this was apparent last season with some rash tackles that he will have to control if he becomes an arsenal regular.

  37. ethan_gooner

    Mirko Barisic

    ‘Arsenal say the fee is undisclosed, though Dinamo president Mirko Barisic said it amounted to £16.25m.’

  38. Eduardo Da Silva?
    That was typical of Le Boss: Here we’re going on and on about the Tevezs of the world and lo and behold.
    Well, May this be another of Wenger’s genius spottings.

  39. ethan_gooner

    to spend those sort of bucks arsene must be damb sure ! thats all i can say

  40. ethan_gooner

    will he score 34 goals for us ?? well that just boils down to team chemistry ,we will know more after 7 or 8 games into the season .. but on paper SOLID ! very solid …

  41. ethan_gooner


    yes but he’s being groomed into the spot ‘under 19 captain of brazil ‘. ‘if that aint enough proof alone for ya’ it was obvious last year arsene gave him alot of 1st team football as he will develope quickly . He will be better this year and im sure arsene will bring in diaby and denilson any time he can ..


    Bring on the goals Eduardo!!!!
    welcome to AFC!!!

  43. I believe the see is no more than 8 million, the agents and selling club always like to inflate the numbers.

    Disregard anyone the media say is coming,Tevez ,Aneilka forget it.

    As far as Vela is concerned he gets his EU passport in January 2008, but fast track is possible.

  44. He looks like a real poacher. Has a good bit of pace and strength and while not looking all that tall he seems to get a fair number of goals with his head. I remember seeing the one he got against Italy for Croatia recently, stuck it away with his head from a deep cross. Lets hope he settles quickly and becomes an instant hit. Dudu9


    I Hope he gets the number 9 shirt Baptista didn’t deserve to wear the shirt.

  46. 1. Apparently the only reason why everyone’s printing the 24m euro figure is that quoted the Zagreb club president as saying:
    “I think the transfer is worth €24m from the money Arsenal got after selling Henry to Barcelona.”
    Seems like something’s lost in translation again. The guy just said it’s “worth” that much, didn’t literally say the amount paid was exactly that. Many other publications are saying 6m poundsm, or around 8m euros.
    Source (of confusion):

    2. And there’s just no way Arsene would have paid that much for someone new to the premiership. Period.

    3. For those doubters of this unknown player, you guys please remember how you scratched your head over that unknown youngster from Milan, that unknown winger from Halmstads, that unknown teenager from PSG, that unknown winger from Juventus, that unknown Ivorian from ASEC Mimosas (even the club you hadn’t heard of!), that unknown kid from Feyernoord, or that unknown kid from Barcelona. The list stretches so long that I wonder why I’m saying all this to point out the obvious fact that we should trust Arsene!

    4. That leaves us with 10m+ for 1-2 more signings. Fingers crossed for another surprise coup. 🙂

  47. Yogi, Good point about inabillity to score goals being translated from leauge to league. It is the international goals though that intrest me in this player and he has taken that from under 21 through to full international according to the stats. A thing that proves hard to do for many a young prospect.
    He will not bring to big an ego to the dressing room as well.

  48. Gentlemen, EDS looks to me like a Miroslav Klose-type:poacher, good with both feet & head, tireless & disciplined. If he is consistent, AW deserves a straight knighthood and at least 5% ownership of AFC!!!!!!!

  49. guys…
    henry is henry…
    da silva is da silva…
    2 diff personality…
    we couldn’t him to be henry….
    but we need his touch…
    and we are hoping he will be ‘Henry”…
    scores a lot of goals…
    but i prefer its in his way…
    not immitating henry in any form…
    right guys…

  50. i just need the team to deliver so we can put behind our misery of 06-07 season. i hope da silva is the one to the rescue.

  51. There’s no need to find another henry, not possible too -unless cloned.

    da silva, sounds exciting. you may have already an opinion. what if being trained by wenger and he improves further? hoepfully this will be the case to the team’s benefit. whatever it is, i think wenger knows what he wants for the team.

  52. Finnish Gooner

    Last season he had the most assists in the Croatian League. So he has a lots of skills. But still I don´t want to think him as a next Thierry. Thierry was Thierry, Nicolas was Nicolas and so on. Let´s just hope that we´ll have a new great scorer!!

  53. “Da Silva Bullet”
    “Dudu does Arsenal proud”
    “Who needs Kaka when you have Dudu”
    “Wolves get taken down by the Silva bullet”
    “Eduardo’s Da Man”

    So many puns available for the press. They must be pissing in their pants with delight 🙂
    So are we. Not a big name player but definately one who has proven himself and now is his time to shine in the Premier League.

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