Arsenal striker crisis dates back to double blow from Liverpool star | Football | Sport

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Arsenal’s search for a ruthless striker continues as Mikel Arteta goes looking for reinforcements that can help the Gunners usurp Manchester City and Liverpool. Rumours of attacking additions have predated the Spanish boss himself, but their lack of firepower could have been solved a decade ago.

A few months after Luis Suarez had spearheaded Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool to a Premier League title push with 31 goals in 33 games in 2014, Arsenal made an audacious attempt to lure him away from Anfield. The Gunners launched a famous £40million and £1 bid for the Uruguayan in an attempt to trigger his release clause.

However, Liverpool publicly refused to let their talisman leave and persuaded him to stay at the club for another season before joining Barcelona. Suarez was Arsenal’s ideal signing but once their pursuit was rejected they were forced to move onto another target, Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema.

Arsene Wenger wanted Benzema at the Emirates and the stars appeared to be aligning as Los Blancos viewed Suarez as someone who could succeed the Frenchman at the Bernabeu. Suarez himself admitted that a deal was in place for him to join Real Madrid, only for him to snub that move and join Lionel Messi and Neymar at fierce rivals Barcelona instead.

“Before the 2014 World Cup, Real Madrid wanted to sign me, and everything was on track,” Suarez told DelSol 99.5 FM. “When the World Cup started, Barca joined the race, and obviously I preferred Barca. With the bite situation, Madrid lowered their interest, and Barca became more interested. In the end, I had both options and I chose Barca because it was my dream.”

With Madrid unable to find their replacement for Benzema, he stayed at the club until last year for Saudi Arabian giants Al-Ittihad. Not only were Arsenal prevented from their top target Suarez, but his move to Barcelona stopped them from landing Benzema a year later in a brutal double blow.

The likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Gabriel Jesus have since occupied the striker spot at Arsenal. But questions remain over the Brazilian’s ability to propel the Gunners to the title.

Ivan Toney has been linked with a move to north London in the summer after Brentford turned down the idea of letting the England forward leave in January, upon his return from suspension. Victor Osimhen is another striker mentioned, but similarly to Toney would command a hefty fee at a time when Arsenal are concerned about Financial Fair Play.

Tens of millions have been spent on forwards over the past decade at Arsenal but if Suarez had not turned them and Real Madrid down in favour of a move to Barcelona, it could have been a very different story at the Emirates.


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