The first international break of the year has come and gone, which can only mean one thing: transfer rumours. When international football comes back, so does speculation about the next transfer window. Players get linked with clubs left and right, regardless of whether a move is realistic or not.
Strikers tend to be linked with clubs a lot because it’s a flashy position and one that often gets fans excited. Two strikers that have both been linked with their fair share of Premier League clubs in the last 12 months have been Alexandre Lacazette and Michy Batshuayi. It looks like summer moves to the Premier League could be on the cards for one or both of these two Ligue 1 strikers, so we’ll take a look at them.
In the last 12 months, Lacazette has been linked to Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, and even Newcastle United. He has been at Lyon since the age of 12 and has made more than 200 appearances for OL. The 24 year-old French striker stands at 5’9, has 10 international caps, and is the reigning Ligue 1 player of the year. However, after his career year last season, he was not called up for this week’s internationals by Didier Dechamps, and looks unlikely to make it in France’s Euro 2016 squad.
Lacazette led Ligue 1 in scoring last year with a fantastic 27 goals, however, nearly a third of his goals were from penalties. After taking out the penalties, he scored 19 non-penalty league goals, or a goal every 150 minutes. This season he’s dropped off a bit with 12 non penalty league goals, or a goal every 194 minutes, but still a good season. To put that into perspective, Jamie Vardy has scored a non penalty goal every 181 minutes this season, Diego Costa has scored one every 183 minutes, Christian Benteke has scored one every 215 minutes, and Shane Long has scored one every 231 minutes.
Looking at Lacazette’s shot numbers, he hasn’t done too much different from last season. He is taking slightly less than half a shot fewer per 90 minutes this season, but he’s actually taking slightly more shots inside the box per 90. His chances created rate is down by a bit, but that could be down to the fact that his partner Nabil Fekir has been out pretty much the entire season with a torn ACL.
Batshuayi, or Michy, has been linked to Arsenal, Tottenham and West Ham, all in the past six months. Michy turned 22 in October, stands at six feet tall, and joined Marseille from Standard Liege for eight million Euros (via TransferMarkt) in 2014. After turning down the chance to play for DR Congo, he has two caps and has scored two goals for the Belgian national team. After being used as a super sub under Marcelo Bielsa last season, the Belgian became the number one striker at the Stade Veladrome this season after the departure of Andre-Pierre Gignac.
Batshuayi’s numbers haven’t been inflated too much by penalties. He only played 920 minutes his first season, so the sample size is quite small, but he scored a non penalty goal every 102 minutes. After grabbing nine non penalty goals in the first half of the season, he’s slowed down with only two since the turn of the year and has averaged a non penalty goal every 213 minutes, or about the same minutes per goal ratio as Benteke at Liverpool this season.
Batshuayi’s shot numbers look very promising. He actually takes more shots per 90 minutes and shots inside the penalty area per 90 minutes than Lacazette. The 22 year old’s creative numbers are pretty average with slightly less than one chance created per 90.
One or both of these strikers could be making moves to the Premier League this summer. Despite Batshauyi signing a new contract in January, rumours of a summer move refuse to go away, where if Lyon fail to make the Champions League, they may have to cash in on Lacazette.