LONDON (SE) - Arsenal begin what appears to be life without Premier League top scorer Robin van Persie on Saturday when they meet Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium.
Van Persie announced July 4 that he will not be extending his contract with the Gunners, although a possible transfer to Manchester United has not yet been finalised. The Dutch international scored 37 times in all competitions for Arsenal last season, including a league-high 30 goals.
Van Persie's contract expires at the end of next season, and boss Arsene Wenger will likely want to cash in on his captain before that.
Arsenal's trophy drought is now up to seven years, and Wenger has brought in several attacking players with the likely absence of the Dutch striker in mind.
The trio bring glowing credentials to the Emirates. Cazorla helped Malaga finish fourth last season in La Liga, Podolski finished tied for fourth in the German Bundesliga with 18 goals last season with Cologne and Giroud was the French league's joint top scorer last season with Montpellier, scoring 21 goals in 36 games.
"I am excited because we have learned from last year, we have a new start and a new opportunity," Wenger said. "Hopefully we can be the surprise of the season because we have stability and stability is important."
Although many supporters believe that Wenger's intricate passing style may no longer fit the rugged Premier League, it helped attract Cazorla to the club.
"I'm so excited to be joining one of the greatest teams in Europe and also in the Premier League," Cazorla told the club's website. "Their style of play is recognised and admired all over the world. It is a great step forward in my career and I hope it will be a very good experience."
Sunderland don't appear to present much of a challenge to Arsenal. Martin O'Neill's side finished in 13th place last season, and the Black Cats are winless in their last 13 trips to Arsenal with 10 defeats since their last victory in 1983.
The pre-season campaign went poorly. Sunderland lost five of six matches with one draw, failing to score in the most recent defeats to Hartlepool United, Leicester City and Helsingborgs.
O'Neill admitted his side must improve after last Saturday's 1-0 loss to Leicester City.
"We have plenty to work on," O'Neill told Sunderland's official website. "There are a number of areas which need strengthening."
Key defender Phil Bardsley has undergone surgery on an ankle injury suffered in the pre-season. O'Neill is waiting on the fitness of Stephane Sessegnon, David Vaughan and Wes Brown.
The manager's lone signing was Spanish defender Carlos Cuellar, who was released by Aston Villa. There are rumours that O'Neill may sign striker Steven Fletcher, who has handed in a transfer request with Championship side Wolves.
Sunderland can only wish they still had the services of Nicklas Bendtner, who has returned to parent club Arsenal for this season and could face them Saturday. Bendtner led the Black Cats with eight goals last season.