It is a known fact that Arsenal need a new striker. After the exit of former captain Robin Van Persie to arch-rivals Manchester United and the failure of club to adequately replace him, the Gunners have been struggling in front of goal ( Yeah, I know we scored 7 against Newcastle). This has made a move for another striker pertinent. In recent weeks, reports have been rife that Arsenal are mulling over potential offers for two strikers; Demba Ba and David Villa. Of course, Arsenal and Arsene been what they are, they would likely go for just one of them and not both.
In the event of moving for one, who should Arsenal move for come the winter transfer window. Here, I would be seeking to espouse the pros and cons of a move for either of them. Focus would be on their strengths and weaknesses.
It is important Arsenal try to salvage the remainder of the season but more importantly, they must play for the long term. Most of Wenger’s signs show flashes of brilliance at the start but come good over the long term. Henry, Van Persie, Adebayor, Song to mention just a few. Hence, Arsenal should have the long term in view while going for a transfer target. In the light of this, let us consider both players. David Villa is 31 which means he has few years of quality football left in him and going by Arsenal’s contract policy for the 30 years and above, he won’t be around for a long time. As for Demba Ba, he is 27 years old which means he would still be able to offer Arsenal more in terms of longevity. He still has more years of quality football left in him.
As regards the transfer fee, Demba Ba is the cheaper option. He has a buy-out clause out of Newcastle for just 7.5 million Pounds. The clause remains until he signs a new contract while David Villa would not leave Barcelona on the cheap. The Catalans bought him for a lumpsome fee and wouldn’t let him go on the cheap. Reports are bench-marking Villa’s transfer fee at 16 million Pounds which is simply double of what Ba would cost us. If Wenger takes Villa on loan with a view to a permanent deal in the summer, it would still cost Arsenal more.
In terms of wages, Villa certainly commands more. He is currently on 115k pounds per week wages at Barcelona while Demba Ba is on 60k wages ( 35k Pounds whether or not he plays while an additional 25k Pounds if he takes to the field every weekend). Arsenal been the pinchy club they are when it comes to players’ transfer fee and wages might just find solace in the low wages Ba would be commanding if he is to move to the Emirates. A 70k-80k Pounds offer would make Ba’s day.
Considering the style of play, it is worthy of note that Arsenal are looking for another striker quite different from the ones already on their bill. Currently, Arsene has at his disposal Giroud, Podolski, Walcott and Gervinho as strikers but only one of them is really skillful and that one is sensationally profligate in front of goal. David Villa is a very skillful striker, knows how to go pass players skillfully, knows the location of the net and how to find it. For Ba, he is more of a target man akin to current Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud. Ba has little or no dribbling skill.
In terms of versatility, Villa would offer more to the team. The Barcelona striker can play in a plethora of attacking positions (on the right, left and through the center) while Ba can only play through the center. The Senegalese is quite rigid when it comes to roles. When he was moved to the left at Newcastle to accommodate his countryman Papiss Cisse who just arrived, his goals dried up with the new boy getting all the goals. The current formation Wenger employs (4-3-3/4-5-1) doesn’t give room for a rigid front man. It allows for flexible attacking trio that switch places at will.
One thing that stands Demba tall ahead of Villa is his height. Ba towers at 6 ft2 which means he offers more in aerial battle while Villa stands at 5 ft 9. There are lots of aerial battles in the premier League, hence the need for a tall striker who would also win aerial battles in addition to been deadly with ball at his feet.
In terms of experience, Villa is far more experienced than Ba. The former has played far more high profile tournaments than the Senegalese. He has won the La Liga, Uefa Champions League, European championship and World Cup while on the other hand, the latter has never featured in a single final in his entire footballing career. Playing in the Champions League could be a step too high for Ba and he could get fazed by the stage. Villa would take such matches in his stride.
Villa offers more in contribution to play and also assists. He has assisted 36 goals for clubs and country in 5 seasons (2012/2013 is the fith season) while Demba Ba doesn’t offer much in terms of assists. He has only assisted 7 goals in the same period club and country.
On fitness grounds, David Villa has been a fit player but last season he suffered a broken leg at the World Club cup that ruled him out of the remainder of the season. He seems to have recovered full y from the injury while Demba Ba has concerns surrounding his long term fitness owing to the presence of long standing knee injury. But since joining Newcastle he hasn’t shown any sign of been injured. In 2 seasons, he has played 60 matches in all competitions. Could be that he has already overcame his injury curse.
But are they available? Seems so. Ba has revealed it would be a dream to play at Arsenal while contrary to vibes coming from Nou Camp, Villa would be open to a move away from Barcelona in a bid to play more regularly so he can force his way back into the La Furo Roja ahead of the Confederations Cup and World Cup.
An edge Ba has over Villa is his Premier League experience. Having played in the Premier League for some years, he wouldn’t need any adaptation period to settle down at Arsenal but in the event that Villa joins Arsenal, he might struggle at first to come to terms with the physicality of the Premier League. How he would respond to the physical side of the English league is unpredictable because he has spent his entire career in the Spanish La Liga where focus is more on skill and beautiful football rather than strength. Another thing that may count against Villa is the fact that he is already cup-tied and wouldn’t be available to play for Arsenal in the Champions league but Ba would be available to do so since he hasn’t played in the Champions League this season.
Whoever Wenger decides to go for, there is certainly a place and a void to fill in the Arsenal ranks. (390)Sponsored by Free Bets from BigFreeBet.com
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