Arsene Wenger Arsenal
Arsene Wenger will want to see his team get off to a bright start in the new season. Pictured: Wenger thanks the fans after the last game of the previous season, May 15, 2016Reuters

The signing of Granit Xhaka, even before the start of Euro 2016, was a great start to the summer for Arsenal, but since then, those worry lines have started creeping in amongst the fans as Arsene Wenger struggles to complete the one big-name signing he clearly needs if the North London club are to compete for the title this season. Arsenal begin their preseason friendly preparations on Friday against Lens in France, with that feeling of "oh no, not again" hanging in the air again.

With every possible striker being linked with a move to Arsenal, "will Wenger buy big or won't he" has been the familiar narrative of the transfer window. As good a signing as Xhaka could prove to be – he now gives Wenger the option of playing Aaron Ramsey in midfield, without having to worry about needing a player who can switch play and play long balls to the wide positions – there is no doubting the fact that Arsenal need a striker.

Wenger might have had one by now had Jamie Vardy not been convinced to stay with Leicester City and sign a new contract, but once that move collapsed, there has been no progress as far as Plans B, C, D and E are concerned.

Gonzalo Higuain is the name that keeps getting linked with a move to Arsenal, while the likes of Mauro Icardi, Alexandre Lacazette and Romelu Lukaku have also found their names attached to the "Arsenal closing in on striker signing" headlines.

With several of the big names, including Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud, still to come back from holiday, Arsenal will go into this friendly against Lens with a relatively understrength squad.

However, preseason matches also means a chance for the youngsters to shine, and the likes of Chuba Akpom, Jeff Reine-Adelaide and more will definitely want to do that, by putting in a proper shift on Friday.

This is as good a chance as any for Akpom to show Wenger that he is the striker that Arsenal are looking for. While gauging someone's capabilities to cut it out in the Premier League based on just performances in preseason matches is not something Wenger will do, Akpom, who did not make the greatest of impressions on loan at Hull City last season, can at least catch the manager's attention by banging in the goals, starting with the match against Lens, before Arsenal go Stateside.

Another player keen to make an impression will be Theo Walcott, whose form went off a cliff in the second half of the season. Having failed to convince Wenger, yet again, that he is the pacy centre-forward answer, this really could be the England international's last chance to make an impact in an Arsenal shirt.

Where to Watch Live

Arsenal vs Lens is scheduled for an 8 p.m. local time (7 p.m. BST, 11.30 p.m. IST, 2 p.m. ET) start. Live coverage of the match will be available in India, UK and the rest of the world on Arsenal TV. There will be free live streaming of the match on Arsenal online and the Arsenal official app.

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