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How much does Arsenal need another striker? Maybe Sunday’s game at Newcastle will tell

Dec 28, 2013, 9:29 PM EST

Arsenal's Giroud celebrates scoring against Tottenham Hotspur during their English Premier League soccer match at the Emirates Stadium in London Reuters

Arsenal needs help at striker; that’s hardly a well-kept secret.

How much Arsene Wenger and upper management around the Emirates Stadium needs some January reinforcement remains up for debate.

You have to wonder if anything seen in Sunday’s match at Newcastle may tip the balance?

Olivier Giroud has been more productive than most of us might have thought, which is among the reasons Wenger’s club finds itself just two points behind Manchester City going into Sunday’s match, with a chance to march into the New Year on top of 20-team the table.

But whereas Arsenal has been fighting for a top 4 spot in the past few years, a few more goals here or there could mean a Premier League crown. So the stakes are higher yet as the club weighs a January move.

Wenger hasn’t been big on mid-season transfers. Andrey Arshavin back in 2009 was Wenger’s last big January signing, and he just never quite lived up to the mighty expectations. So pardon the Gunner for being a little, well, gun shy.

Either way, various reports have insisted Arsenal may pursue FC Porto’s Jackson Martinez, Standard Liege’s Michy Batshuayi or Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata. Jackson would be the big score here. The young Colombian international certainly sounds interested in Premier League soccer, and he says Arsenal (along with Chelsea) were his childhood rooting interests.

So, go get the kid, right? Well, maybe … but maybe not. Don’t forget that January prices are generally inflated.

And there are always further layers of complexity as players consider winter moves in a World Cup year

If Giroud can convince everyone that he’s got a big second half of the season in him, maybe that gives Wenger and his Gunners just a little more leverage in any transfer talks. (Or if Lukas Podolski can keep up the pace from his initial post-injury appearance, same difference.)

If Giroud misses a few more chances at St. James’ Park on Sunday, that may be just enough to pry open the wallet. A Premier League crown may depend on it.

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