Why Alexandre Lacazette is a gamble worth taking for Arsenal
Written by: Aakash Verma
The prolific 26-year-old will add a new dimension to the North Londoners' attack and will be expected to lead the line ahead of Olivier Giroud. . .
Olympique Lyonnais frontman Alexandre Lacazette has joined Arsenal in a £52m move. Since the departure of Robin van Persie to Manchester United in 2013, the Gunners haven't been able to replace the 'Flying Dutchman.' The likes of Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck and Lucas Perez haven't really delivered the performances that were expected from a first choice striker at a club like Arsenal.
Lacazette could be a signing that might change Arsene Wenger's recent misfortune with the strikers but given the history of players coming from Ligue 1, he could well be a big gamble. The size of the leap from Ligue 1 to the Premier League is huge and most of the players, especially forwards, find it difficult to cope up with it. The likes of Loic Remy, Bafetimbi Gomis and Arsenal's very own Giroud all had great goalscoring records in Ligue 1 but failed to replicate the same stats in the Premier League.
Arsenal's latest French recruit will have a lot to prove on the back of his big money move but he has done it before, climbing his way up through the ranks at Lyon, making a name for himself in Ligue 1. The 26-year old striker has been absolutely prolific for the French club for the past three seasons, scoring 27 goals in 33 league starts in 2014/15, following it up with 21 in 34 in 2015/16 and finally, 37 goals in 45 appearances in all competitions last season. A little dent on his impeccable goalscoring record is that 22 of his goals in Ligue 1 have come from the penalty spot, more than any other player in the same time-span.
Although the Frenchman has had three brilliant seasons in France, he still hasn't proved himself on Europe's biggest stage, with just five goals to his name in the Champions League and has only managed two starts for the French national team, falling behind behind Giroud in the pecking order.
Olivier Giroud has failed to provide goals consistentky for Arsenal
Lacazette has every attribute of a brilliant striker. He can also score all kinds of goals, from tap-ins to side-footed finishes to chips and 35-yard bangers, all of which make him quite lethal. On his day, he can terrorise any defence with the skillset combined with a capable right foot. But when he's not at his best, he goes completely missing in games and becomes a total liability, a problem which Wenger is already facing with the strikers in his ranks.
The to-be Arsenal striker is also not as strongly built like Giroud and Welbeck and his legs aren't as quick with the ball as a certain Thierry Henry was. His movement off the ball is also very thrifty, which puts him closer to former Arsenal captain, van Persie, in the spectrum of strikers who have been in the red half of North London
Lacazette will certainly bring a different dimension to Arsenal attack which both Giroud and Welbeck haven't able to provide. Giroud has the ability to hold the ball well, bringing others into play and he can finish as well while Welbeck can run at players but can't really finish. Lacazette has a bit of both and if he's able to develop an understanding with Mesut Ozil than Arsenal fans might have a great season to look forward to.
Arsenal, over the years, have had strikers who were complete players and Lacazette's success at the North-London club will be more dependent on how well the team and Wenger's tactics fit him. Whether the striker will be able to replicate his Lyon form with Arsenal and be able to score 20+ goals in the coming season or whether Arsenal fans will again be crying out for a 'world class striker' remains to be seen but in the current market he is one of the best options available and is very much a gamble worth taking.
Published: Wed Jul 05, 2017 09:40 PM IST