Arsenal prayers could be answered by Everton hotshot

In familiarly obstinate fashion, Arsene Wenger stuck to his guns this summer and refused to dip into cavernous reserves of cash at the Emirates, ensuring the world-class striker fans were baying for, never materialised.

A few months into the Frenchman’s 20th campaign as Arsenal manager and most enthusiasts who waxed lyrical about the Gunners’ chances pre-season, identifying them as potential Premier League champions in some cases, are scurrying back into their shells – this writer included.

Although Arsenal are only three points in arrears of early leaders Manchester United after seven games, and somehow shorter, at 7/2, for the title, successive Champions League losses have exposed deficiencies in Wenger’s squad, not least up front.

Louis van Gaal’s Red Devils visit the Emirates next, full of potential to arm Wenger’s mounting detractors with further ammunition, so Gooners ought to be delighted to hear of comments made by a prospective January saviour.

Speaking to press in his native Belgium, Everton’s record signing Romelu Lukaku has revealed a strong desire to play under Wenger one day.

Having failed to make the grade at Chelsea, three successive top-flight returns in excess of 15 goals show Lukaku to be another to have slipped away from Stamford Bridge, like compatriot Kevin De Bruyne and Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge.

The £28m invested in Lukaku to smash their transfer record resembles canny business by Everton, who’ve already extracted six goals out of him this season, four in the Premier League.

When the cat calls grow again ahead of the next opportunity to buy in January, Wenger will do worse than attempting to prise the admiring Lukaku away from Goodison Park, even if it takes £40-45m to do so.

Depending how the rotation between winger-turned-striker Theo Walcott and out-of-favour Olivier Giroud continues, Wenger may yet resort to thrusting his best player, Alexis Sanchez, into the role of lone forward.

What has transpired to be a long-term injury to Danny Welbeck has further compounded the situation, but then the former United man has never shown the aptitude for goals at club level, as he has for country.

There are few better Premier League line leaders in Wenger’s preferred 4-3-3 than Lukaku right now, but the Toffees know that and will surely fight tooth and nail to keep him.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.