05 December 2022

Are Arsenal eyeing up a loan-deal for this in-form Dutch striker?

Now that the sky has fallen and the wheels have come off and the trains been derailed, we might as well throw in the towel. After all, just as our critics and naysayers have ben saying all along, we've relied so extensively on Jesus's goals that his absence, rumoured to be as long as three months, will set us back past the point of no return. We've ridden the deepest purple patch of his career to the top of the table, and, without him, we'll fall to the bottom faster than, well, faster than Ronaldo goes to ground in desperate search of any chance to finally score another Prem goal before he...oh. Anyway, all sarcasm aside, we do need som reinforcements, and that was true before Jesus apparently went down. We'll return to that "apparently" at some point soon.

Dutch footballer Cody Gakpo has turned some heads, and why not? He's tearing up the Eredivisie to the tune of nine goals and 12 assists in 14 matches, and we'd been linked to him this past summer. However, this sounds more and more like a panic-buy than a purposeful one. Don't get me wrong—he looks like he has the makings of a very exciting player, but it's one thing to tear up the Eredivisie and quite another to do something remotely similar in the Prem [note to self: trot out references to farmers' leagues and how physical and fast the Prem is top to bottom] [ibid. ask whether he can do it on a cold, rainy night in Stoke].More to the point, PSV Eindhoven would be in no rush to sell. Gakpo's contract runs through 2026, they're in the thick of the Eredivisie title-chase, and they may even fancy a go at the Europa League title. On that last note, even if we could afford his transfer-free, rumoured to be approach if not exceed £100m, he'd be cup-tied for the remainder of that competition.

By contrast, there's another Dutch footballer who just might appreciate a move to Arsenal: Memphis Depay. After a successful first season at Barca, the 28 year old has been surplus to requirements although injuries have played a role. His contract ends in June, and he'll surely want to audition for a blockbuster deal of sorts in what is sure to be his last "major" contract before putting himself out to pasture in that same Eredivisie that Gakpo is turning up or in America's "don't call us a 'senior circuit'" MLS. Having recovered from his hamstring injury, he's looked lively, energetic, and determined, and he's shown that, in his pomp, he can still lay waste to top-shelf competition such as when he bagged a brace as the Netherlands battered Belgium 1-4 during Nations League play. 

Yes, he can be a bit of a head-case, but he's got something to prove as the twilight of his top-flight career beckons. Let's say we bring him on loan, split his weekly £160k salary 50-50, and give him a run-out. We'll have avoided throwing bucketloads of money at a player who may or may not work out for a player who has impressed when given the chance at Barca and Olympique Lyonnais. Sure, he sputtered at Man U, but that five years ago, and who hasn't sputtered there since Ferguson left?

Even if Nketiah can step up (and that's a rather-large "if"), we're going to need strong options up top. Once Smith-Rowe is back to full fitness, we could see him on the left with Martinelli played through the middle...but this depends on Smith-Rowe finding match fitness quickly. Re-jigging the lineup on its own won't strengthen us; we might just be robbing Peter to pay Paul. 

Rather than paying a princely fee for someone like Gakpo, why not roll the dice on Depay? We have other targets in our sights, after all. 

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