Alexandre Lacazette, a player who has long been linked with a move to Arsenal – but after an incredible season at Lyon – speculation surrounding a move to the capital has intensified. But how good is he and what would he bring to The Emirates?
The 24 year old striker scores 27 league goals last season, making him the leagues top goalscorer and giving him one of the best goal to games ratios in Europe. He averages a goal every 105 minutes, using his pace and composure to score regularly for a Lyon side who played some attractive football in the 2014/15 season.
Could he play as a lone frontman?
Before this season Lacazette was regularly deployed on the wing, raising questions as to whether or not he would be able to hold the frontline himself at Arsenal. Arsene Wenger’s one man strikeforce means the striker has to be very well rounded, not just a goalscorer. What is so impressive about Lacazette is that he looks like he can do all of that. He likes to drop deep sometimes and run at defences, he can link up very well – he managed double the assists of Giroud last season (6).
Do we need to improve on Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck?
I’m not sure. It would certainly help. If Theo Walcott can hit the ground running as a striker then we might have enough options, but I think if we added the extra quality and pace of Lacazette then we’d be a real force. I’m not sure Walcott would sign a new contract if he signed Lacazette first though, so maybe we are waiting to get that one out the way first. If Lukas Podolski, Yaya Sanogo (loan) and Joel Campbell leave soon, then Wenger may want to add another forward. Despite that trio rarely featuring last season, they were required at times. An early League Cup exit restricted Campbell’s chances whilst Sanogo was required in important games like against Borussia Dortmund.
As Wenger regularly reminds us, he will sign players if he can find better than what we’ve got, and Lacazette is just that. Lacazette might force Walcott to stay wide, or even play wide occasionally himself – but he gives us another quality option up top.
[Olivier Giroud / Alexandre Lacazette] – League stats only
Games: 21 (6) / 33
Goals: 14 / 27
Goals per min: 133 / 105
Assists: 3 / 6
Aerials Won: 3.8 / 1.1
Pass Success: 67.8% / 78.8%
Shots Per Game: 2.6 / 2.9
Dribbles Per Game: 0.3 / 2
Dispossessed: 1.9 / 2.5
WhoScored Rating: 7.23 / 7.69
Obviously, as I always say – stats are warped due to the fact that Lacazette plays in an inferior league, you could also argue Giroud gets more chances playing for a creative team like Arsenal. Nobody knows how exactly Lacazette would adjust to life in London. I think we all know Lacazette had a better season than Giroud last season, but the question is, is he capable of consistently performing at that level in the Premier League?
What would Lacazette bring to Arsenal?
Goals, plenty of them. I think he’d settle pretty quickly into our team. His pace is also an important asset. He has pace and a strikers instinct, the best of both Giroud and Welbeck perhaps – but combined into one. Aerially he’s not the best, but I think we can work around that.
At 24 he’s got plenty of years ahead of him and plenty of time to develop into a top striker, I’m confident Arsene Wenger help him along the way. Dubbing him the ‘new Henry’ is a bit premature, but you can see how he draws comparisons with similar strengths and weaknesses as the Arsenal legend.
If we offload Podolski, Campbell and Sanogo and bring in Lacazette, we’d have these options for our front three: Giroud, Alexis, Lacazette, Walcott, Welbeck, Chamberlain, Gnabry (the likes of Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil and Cazorla have also been used wide) – I’d say that isn’t too many. I’d like to see Gnabry loaned out to a Premier League club too.
What do you think? Is Lacazette worth the £30million+ he’d probably command? Comment below with your thoughts.