Why Arsenal must go all out for Alexandre Lacazette
After looking likely to join Atletico Madrid, their transfer ban has thrown everything into uncertainty. It now looks as though Antoine Griezmann won’t be departing for at least six months, whilst the Spanish clubs’ interest in Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette is diminishing. With a move to Diego Simeone’s Atletico looking increasingly unlikely, there’s a plethora of clubs that would welcome the talent of Lacazette. None more so than Arsenal.
Arguably since the departure of Thierry Henry to Barcelona in 2007, Arsene Wenger has failed to replace ‘Titi’. Robin van Persie is perhaps the closest the North London club has come, but he’s a different type of player. Theo Walcott was signed from Southampton as the ‘eventual’ replacement, but the now 28-year-old has failed to live up to his potential whilst Walcott has failed to nail down a central role.
Eduardo da Silva perhaps came the closest given his goalscoring record prior to his double leg fracture against Birmingham – but unfortunately the Brazilian-Croatian failed to reach his ability following that horrific injury.
With increasing talk of Olivier Giroud mulling over his future after becoming frustrated at lack of playing time at Arsenal and Alexis Sanchez yet to sign a new deal, Wenger must move fast in the transfer market.
You could argue the fact that the Gunners should make a move for Kylian Mbappe, but a reported £120 million fee for an 18-year-old is astronomical, even in today’s game. With that said, there aren’t many strikers on the market as of yet. Andrea Belotti may leave Torino, but remaining in Italy seems like the likely outcome, whilst Romelu Lukaku has reportedly decided where he wants to play football next season.
With that in mind, Arsenal must go all out for Lyon and France international, Lacazette.
What does Alexandre Lacazette offer?
It’s easy to see why interest is high in the Frenchman. To score 76 Ligue 1 goals in his previous three seasons at Lyon is nothing short of exceptional. An eye for goal, Lacazette is the complete article. The 26-year-old can find space inside the penalty area whilst his pin-point finishing ranks alongside the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Gonzalo Higuaín et al. in terms of conversion rates.
Although you could argue that Arsenal didn’t struggle to score goals last season, they did still score less than the four teams who finished above them – Lacazette is no doubt an upgrade on Giroud and Walcott, whilst he’s more prolific than Alexis.
There’s no doubting Lacazette’s willingness to succeed. Five years ago, the Frenchman looked a raw talent in comparison to other forwards his age. Now, his ability to find space in the area and his improved first touch has made the Lyon forward one of Europe’s leading scorers.
Arsenal must move quick to secure the services of Lacazette otherwise they may miss out on another target – something fans are all too familiar with. Should Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang depart Borussia Dortmund, then Lacazette would be the perfect replacement. Whilst Manchester United are also searching for that illustrious forward to lead the line.
What will it take to land the Frenchman?
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas told reporters last month that they have set a €60 million (£50m) asking price on Lacazette. There’s no doubt that in today’s market the 26-year-old is worth that, especially as he’s yet to enter his prime.
Reports suggest that Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis met Aulas in Lyon whilst the parties hope to agree a fee moving forward. Lacazette himself says he will decide on his future after France vs England on Tuesday, whilst he Premier League is a “great league with interesting teams.”
Although missing out on the Champions League, the fact that Arsenal missed out on the prestigious competition probably won’t deter Lacazette – given their history and stature. You just have to look at the calibre of players both Chelsea and Manchester United were able to land when they missed out on Europe altogether/qualified for the Europa League respectively.
Only time will tell as to where Lacazette will end up in summer, but one thing is for sure and that’s that there’ll be plenty of parties interested in landing the France international.