QPR striker Loic Remy could be the perfect fit for Arsenal
Loic Remy may not be the next Thierry Henry, but Arsenal could do worse than sign the striker in the summer, writes Kieran Beckles
Manchester United target Radamel Falcao will be the headline transfer story this summer, but Loic Remy could provide an interesting sub-plot as the Premier League clubs fine tune their wish lists.
The 26-year-old has provided a misfiring Queens Park Rangers side with a new lease of life, and but for criminal defensive errors and frustrating lapses in concentration, Remy could have already fired the Hoops out of the bottom three.
Harry Redknapp, who was a long-term admirer of the forward from his days as Tottenham Hotspur manager, identified Remy as his top target in January, with the Hoops spending a then club-record £8m to lure the Frenchman from Marseille.
Remy has scored five goals in seven starts in the Premier League – a tally which could have been ever greater but for a niggling groin injury – as he instantly adapted to the pace of the English top flight, prompting interest from Arsenal and Spurs.
And it’s no surprise to see Arsene Wenger linked with Remy after Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski failed to fill the void left by Robin van Persie – the pair have so far managed a combined 18 Premier League goals this term, 12 short of the Dutch striker’s 2011-12 tally.
The Gunners boss worked with France’s greatest Premier League export, Thierry Henry, for the best part of the decade, and Remy has already set his sights on emulating the Arsenal legend by leaving a similar legacy in the English top flight.
“The biggest compliment in 10 years would be: ‘Remy had a career like Titi Henry’. He’s played more than 50 matches flat out every season for 15 years, scored 51 goals for France, has an incredible record of trophies,” said Remy in February.
“For the time being I’m very far away. But you can always dream of being a big name in French football.”
Arsenal and Remy could be the perfect fit. The Gunners have suffered without a central striker who has power and pace in equal measure. Giroud is strong but lacks the composure to be a 20 goal-a-season man, while Theo Walcott remains something of an enigma at The Emirates. Remy could be the solution.
The 26-year-old is most comfortable playing in a central role – he struggled when shipped to the right of a three-man front-line in a 3-2 loss to Aston Villa – making runs behind the opposition centre-halves or collecting possession in front of a defence with the ability to swivel and dart past defenders.
Crucially, he is clinical, too. Remy has started seven games for the west London side and scored five goals from eight clear-cut chances, with his strikes against Fulham and Wigan Athletic showcasing his athleticism, ability to beat defenders and strength.
With many of QPR’s big-name players receiving criticism for their poor attitude this term, Remy highlighted his strength of character to bounce back from his penalty miss at Craven Cottage and produce two moments of magic to help his side’s cause, albeit ultimately in vain. No-one can question his appetite for goals whatever his motivation.
In January, Redknapp revealed his negotiating ploy with the former Marseille striker – which happened to fail – before Tony Fernandes and a game of Fifa convinced Remy that Loftus Road, and not Newcastle United, was the right club to further his career.
Redknapp said: “If he came and scored some goals for us and tried to help us stay up, if the worst came to the worst and we couldn’t survive, at least he’s in the shop window and some of the big clubs might want him.
“If he did score the goals that he could, there would be every chance we could stay up.”
The 66-year-old’s faith in Remy has been justified, and as the Hoops boss predicted, the big clubs are now circling QPR’s top goal-scorer with their top-flight status in doubt.
“There’s going to be interest in him,” said Redknapp at a news conference on Friday.
“We were chasing him at Spurs 18 months ago, we were talking about big money. I think it was a £20m fee at the time.
“He’s got back in the French team since he’s been here. He scores fantastic goals and he’s a great finisher. He could have had three last week – he hit the post and had a great header.
“I looked at him on Thursday morning before Wigan, and he hit three goals in training that were just incredible. In a full season in the Premier League, he’d get you 20 goals.”
Wenger has always been a shrewd operator in the transfer market, and the Arsenal boss would do well to strip QPR of their most valuable asset in the summer and polish Remy into the goal-scorer that the Gunners have been missing.
He’ll struggle to match Henry’s achievements but he could join a long list of French strikers to have been a success at Arsenal.