| 14.1°C Dublin

Wenger draws up plan for new hitman

ARSENE Wenger has asked his network of scouts to search for another new striker ahead of the January transfer window as Arsenal continue the process of replacing Robin van Persie.

Although encouraged at how the goals have been spread more evenly around the team this season, Wenger would ideally still like further back-up to Olivier Giroud as the main centre-forward in his 4-2-3-1 system.

Wenger has specifically told his scouts to be on the look-out for potential new attacking options over the coming months, with Robert Lewandowski, Fernando Llorente, Adrian Lopez and Stevan Jovetic among those being monitored.

The interest in signing another striker reflects an understanding that Giroud cannot be expected to instantly adapt to the Premier League, although his development over the next three months will inform how Wenger approaches the January market.

Giroud scored his first Premier League goal in the 3-1 win at West Ham on Saturday, but there is a sense that he was signed as the long-term alternative to Van Persie, rather than as the Dutchman's immediate replacement.

Arsenal's proactive approach to January suggests that Wenger believes his squad is now close to challenging Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs. However, their established back-up to Giroud in the main striker's role is limited.

Gervinho has performed encouragingly in Van Persie's old position so far this season while Theo Walcott has publicly told Wenger that he now feels ready to be given a chance in that position. Lukas Podolski is another option but, like Gervinho and Walcott, is considered most effective in wide positions.

With Nicklas Bendtner and Ju-Young Park on loan, the only other senior internal option is Marouane Chamakh, who has scored only twice for Arsenal since December 2010.

An unqualified success so far this season has been Santi Cazorla, who is now with the Spain squad. Yesterday, he explained how he was flourishing at Arsenal in Cesc Fabregas's old role as the midfield playmaker.

"I feel important at Arsenal and I want to keep developing," Cazorla said.

"The way Arsenal play and the responsibility they have given me is something I have always sought out.

"I think it's a step forward in my career and I hope to improve a great deal in the future."

Cazorla spent most of his career at Villarreal before joining Malaga last season when he helped the Andalusian side to qualify for the Champions League for the first time. With Spain, however, he is generally used as a substitute behind Andrés Iniesta, David Silva and Fabregas.

"I am happy with my role and it's a privilege to be here," Cazorla said.

"Hopefully I can continue to help out as much as possible, I am working every day towards that.

"I am feeling in very good shape and I consider myself fortunate to have the opportunities I am being given."

Spain, who beat Georgia in their opening World Cup qualifier, head to Belarus for their second game tomorrow before hosting France in Madrid on Tuesday.