Next up is some Alexandre Lacazette transfer news from the summer. Arsenal completed the £46.5mil signing of the prolific marksman from French club Lyon early in the transfer window. The fee was also a club record, surpassing the £42mil deal for Mesut Ozil. Despite this, Arsenal’s strategy in the transfer market has been widely criticised but that’s nothing new. Does the signing of Lacazette give Arsenal fans anything to be positive about?
We take a closer look at Lacazette and his circumstances at Arsenal…
Nationality: 14 caps 1 goal
Position: striker, can play wide attacking midfield
Transfer Fee: £46.5mil
Contract Length: 5 years
2016/17 League Stats: 28 starts (2 sub appearances) 28 goals (3 assists)
2017/18 League Stats: 9 starts (2 sub appearances) 6 goals (0 assists)
We’ve probably talked more about Arsenal than any other club. Given the mess with contracts and inevitable speculation which will accompany top class players, especially if they are soon to be out of contract, like Ozil and Sanchez, it’s probably not surprising.
Also the prospect of losing such talent has meant Arsenal have been linked with a number of replacements (such as Lemar and Draxler). However it was about time we talked about some concrete transfer activity involving, arguably the most talked about club in the country, even if there hasn’t been a whole lot…
Arsenal moved quickly for Lacazette when the transfer window opened in July and it’s not hard to see why. In his last 3 seasons in France he has scored more than 20 league goals, with last season his best with 28 goals and averaging a goal a start.
I’m surprised it took a big club as long as it did to move for Lacazette, he’s looked ready to make the step up to one of the bigger leagues or Champions League regular, for at least a couple of years now. The links to Arsenal in particular have been ongoing for several seasons so I really don’t know why it has taken them this long to make a move. They’ve been lacking a consistently prolific striker since the days of Henry.
Atletico Madrid had also been strongly linked to Lacazette and if it wasn’t for their transfer embargo this summer, Lacazette may well have been playing in Spain right now instead. Their European performances in recent years are far more superior to Arsenal’s and Diego Simeone has a big reputation. It’s hard to see many players turning down Atletico for Arsenal right now.
Despite the transfer to a new team and a new country, Lacazette looks like he’s been playing in the Premiership all of his career. He’s hit the ground running at Arsenal. Wenger has said he is still adapting to the football in England but to be totally honest, if Lacazette needs more time to adapt, so too do 99% of the rest of the League.
6 goals in 9 starts and providing a consistent threat, is pretty well adapted already in my opinion. He also has double the league goals than anyone else in the Arsenal team. It’s fair to say Lacazette is already Arsenal’s main threat. Quite some feat for a player to achieve so early in their career at such a big club after a big move and under such pressure.
If anything Lacazette’s start has been all the more impressive when considering how Wenger has used him. Whilst he’s started 9 out of a possible 11 league games, he’s only completed 90 minutes once. He was also dropped in two of the biggest games of the season, against Liverpool and Man City.
I cannot understand why Wenger would drop his biggest goal threat in such important games when chances in these games are going to be all the more limited. Within 10 minutes of coming on, Lacazette scored against City. Lacazette then got shifted out to a wider position with the introduction of Giroud later, to complete the strange decisions for Arsenal, yet again.
The level of Lacazette’s performances, despite this lack of rhythm and lack of confidence, seemingly, from Wenger says a lot about his quality. His narrow mindedness, in a good way and self confidence has looked unwaivering in his short time in England so far. He looks and plays largely unaffected by everything negative going on around him (and there’s been plenty).
Quite honestly he would be justified in having some serious words with Wenger when a player (or 2) who don’t want to be at the club are starting ahead of him in such important games. To add insult to injury, 1 of the players in question was pretty open in his desire about wanting to join the opposition on the day only a few months ago.
It’s a ludicrous situation, not only entrusting a player who wanted to play for the opposition but opting for him instead of your new record signing who is performing far better than everyone else right now and had also committed to the next 5 years.
Wenger’s made some strange decisions in his time but if I was Lacazette I’d be wondering what’s going on and thinking have I made a huge mistake in joining Arsenal?
- I personally feel Giroud has been under used a lot but I can understand why he wouldn’t suit some game plans or why he wouldn’t necessarily be a regular starter at a club like Arsenal, he’s not been prolific enough.
- Sanchez, unsurprisingly doesn’t look completely up for this season after his deadline day move collapsed. Is his heart in it anymore?
- Whilst Danny Welbeck has reverted to type; suffering with his usual injury problems.
Everything is in position for Lacazette to establish himself as Arsenal’s main man and he’s keeping up his end of the bargain…
Lacazette is a balanced footballer, possessing a vast amount of attributes. He has good movement, composure, technique, ball control, finishing, passing, dribbling, speed and strength. However he’s probably a level or so away from being classed as a truly world class striker at the moment. He’s not far away though and it’s certainly achievable.
Despite being 26, he has only just made the move up to the Premier League so there is still potential for him to develop playing week in, week out at a higher standard of football than he has before.
In terms of weaknesses, Lacazette doesn’t provide a big aerial treat and isn’t the best crosser. He also isn’t the most hard working or bravest player (in that respect he fits the profile of many recent signings by Arsenal). As well making some smaller all round improvements, he really needs to increase his work ethic if he is to take his game beyond its current level, that looks the like the area of his game with the biggest room for improvement.
I would class Lacazette at a similar level to the likes of Morata and Lukaku but he was considerably cheaper so you have to say it’s been great business from Arsenal. It’s just a shame that’s there’s so many other problems at the club and that they don’t enter the market more often or rectify the obvious issues with the team.
It has to be said that both signings they’ve made in the summer have been top quality players and great value. The only deal I can think of off the top of my head which rivals Arsenal’s business is Mohammed Salah, in terms of value for money.
That said I don’t understand why it took so long for Arsenal to make a move for the Frenchman, a good few years of service have been lost. Not long after Lacazette broke on to the scene, Arsenal have been linked with him.
I also worry that Lacazette’s Arsenal career could follow a similar pattern to Sanchez and possibly Ozil, leading to disillusionment. Wenger’s treatment of him has been questionable so it wouldn’t surprise me if Lacazette became unhappy at the Emirates in the not so distant future too.
Fortunately he has a 5 year deal and you’d hope Arsenal would have learnt from recent mistakes regarding allowing contracts to run down.
Without doubt Arsenal have signed a top player and finally look like they’ve found a regular 20-30 goal a season striker. Many players have come and been tested to try and follow Henry’s legacy, such as Adebayor and Van Persie but in Lacazette they look like they have finally found the real deal.
His mentality is good and he looks a natural goal scorer. Arsenal and Wenger should be making his happiness more of a priority as he’s a player they can build around for at least the next 5 years.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) July 5, 2017
How highly do you rate Lacazette? Best buy of the summer? Let me know below.