To see Arsenal adding Gabriel Jesus to their ranks is of course good, but still they are not seen as a team with a clear identity regarding the number 9 position. That pivotal striker that we all would love to see scoring 30 plus goals a season.
Going back a certain Ted Drake makes the number proud. Drake joined Arsenal from Southampton for a fee of £6.500 and from then on he just hammered goals in for fun. He scored 124 goals in 167 league appearances for Arsenal before the World War II outbreak.
Drake is also an unique performer for England as his tally of goals are more than his caps in total. Drake is an Arsenal league winner in 1934/35 and 1937/38 season. He is also an FA Cup winner in the 1936/37 season. He is seen as a classic number 9. Drake once became the top goalscorer in one season as he scored 42 goals in that 1937/38 season.
Arsenal suffered as a club with 9 players killed during World War II. But still their base of performance were to top level also after. They managed to win the league title in 1947/48 and FA Cup champions in 1950. The again becoming League winners of the 7th time in 1952/53. Don Roper, Peter Goring and Reg Lewis all contributed with a number of goals. Ronnie Rooke managed to score a total of 33 goals in that league winning season and no Arsenal player has since lifted that tally.
A decline were seen and it took 18 years before they again lifted a trophy as the generation of players had come to a certain age and as strange as it sounds not being able to attract the best talents at that time, and did not see much limelight as other clubs won the major trophies.
Under the management of Bertie Mee starting in 1966 it all changed as they started a ride getting back to Wembley and also bringing European titles to the cabinet. John Radford made a name for himself, played for England but still never above 15 goals in a season at Arsenal.
The signing for Malcolm Macdonald made great expectations as the former Newcastle goalscoring machine did what most would love to see, reaching a tally of 25 goals and becoming the highest scorer in the league in 1976/77 season. Arsenal also reached the FA Cup final but ended as runners-up to Ipswich in 1978.
Frank Stapleton was then their talisman up front. The Irish forward also struggled to score enough as his tallies in a league season never reached above 17. Paul Mariner was signed from Ipswich as a typical number 9 and he was one that had flushed in goals at Portman Road. He never managed to build on his best years at Ipswich and ended up with just 14 goals 60 league appearances.
Tony Woodcock was next in line to be chosen to lead the line and he was on a good strike in his 2nd season scoring 21 goals as the 1983/84 season did see some expectation, but from then in his next seasons scoring just 10 and 11 it was time to look for new players.
Alan Smith is probably not recognized enough as he is was the first Arsenal player, before Thierry Henry to end as the leauge’s top goalscorer twice. 23 goals scored in 1988/89 and 22 in 1990/91.
Ian Wright then became the next player in line to shine, but he only managed to win that special title in the season 1991/92 when he joined from Crystal Palace. He is of course fondly remembered for fans but still as their top forward just twice reaching 20 goals or more in a season.
Thierry Henry is the next in line as his presence did see a player that lifted life at Arsenal in a very special way being loyal and staying up season in and season out as his goals also led to winning Premier League titles in 2001/02 and 2003/04.
The next player to be remembered is Robin Van Persie and his tally of goals reached a peak in his last season scoring 30 goals, but before it as many a season as you would have expected. He managed 18 in one season as the others just reached double figures.
Pierre-Emerick Aubaymeyang and Alexandre Lacazette are the two that we have seen in later years being up front at Arsenal. Aubameyang reaching 22 goals in two of his season and Lacazette just having double figures, but still they never became the top forward shining as much as they never reached the level of Henry and Drake.
Gabriel Jesus is their new talisman up front and hopefully he will be able to score the amounts that will see Arsenal as a competitor for the league title, but in his six seasons at Manchester City never reached above 14, but hopefully a more steady role as the leading man in the front line and also getting that number 9 shirt will give the edge needed to yet again being a team to fight for the PL title.