4 Strikers Who Failed to Replace Robin van Persie at Arsenal

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10:  Robin van Persie of Manchester United celebrates at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on November 10, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Robin van Persie received widespread hatred from a large section of Arsenal fans after his controversial move to Manchester United in 2012, where he won the Premier League title in his first season with the Red Devils.


Ever since his departure, Arsene Wenger has used plenty of options up top in an attempt to replicate the productivity the Dutchman displayed in the latter years of his career with the Gunners, but failed in his quest to find an adequate replacement until he decided to use Alexis Sanchez up top this season. 


We take a look at the strikers who were unable to fill the gaping hole left by the former club captain:

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1. Lukas Podolski

​Lukas Podolski is regarded as one of the best German players of his generation and is among the best finishers in world football. Famed for his extremely powerful and accurate left foot, he is also known for his explosive shooting, technique and probing attacks from the left.


After being linked with Arsenal throughout the 2012 winter transfer window, he was officially announced to much fanfare in April that year. The former Germany international enjoyed an excellent debut season in north London, but the subsequent years weren't quite the same.


Despite being a fan favourite, Podolski's opportunities dwindled and he eventually found himself on the fringes of the first-team. 


After getting frustrated with his lack of playing time, he spent the second half of what was to be his last season with the Gunners on loan with Inter Milan, before leaving for Galatasaray in July 2015.

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2. Olivier Giroud

​Olivier Giroud joined Arsenal in the same transfer window as Lukas Podolski, after helping Montpellier win the Ligue 1 title in 2012 by finishing the season with a league-leading 21 goals and nine assists.


The Frenchman has tried his best to replicate his goal-scoring exploits in England, and despite netting 98 times for the Gunners in 226 outings, a section of the Arsenal fans remain unconvinced by his skill set.


Manager Arsene Wenger holds the 30-year-old in high regard and even though he wasn't always a regular starter last season - playing just 1,780 minutes combined in all competitions - he grabbed 16 goals and seven assists.


Although he was reduced to the status of an impact substitute, Giroud's reliable goalscoring rate, strength and size offered a different kind of threat to the opposition, and though he might not like the role, the Gunners would do well to retain his services.

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3. Danny Welbeck

​An unfortunate long-term injury to Olivier Giroud in August 2014 saw Arsene Wenger make a deadline day purchase to grab Manchester United's Danny Welbeck, who relished the prospect of playing as a central striker - a chance he wasn't going to get at Old Trafford.


The English international's excellent work-rate, pace and intelligence in following tactical command adds a new dimension to the Arsenal attack, but his goal-scoring return hasn't been the most impressive.


Welbeck has found the net a mere 17 times in 69 appearances for the Gunners. His overall offensive contribution is commendable, though he frustrates more often than not by doing everything except scoring.


The dynamic threat he offers keeps him in the side and while he does successfully combine the speed of Theo Walcott with the physicality of Giroud, the 26-year-old's end product leaves a lot to be desired. 

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4. Lucas Perez

Arsenal splashed £17 million to bring Lucas Perez to North London from Deportivo last summer, though the fact that he has been sparingly used despite his impressive contributions makes his signing extremely baffling. 


The Spanish forward chipped in with seven goals and five assists in 21 outings with the Gunners, most of which were substitute appearances. Ill-timed injuries contributed to his limited opportunities and he found himself surplus to requirements once Danny Welbeck returned late in the season.


The 28-year-old felt like a panic buy when he arrived at the Emirates Stadium late last summer, after the club missed out on their main targets, and Wenger's treatment hasn't done much to alter that perception.


However, Perez definitely deserved more first-team minutes than he got in his debut season, and understandably wants to leave the club this summer after a frustrating year in England.

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