After all the talk about signing Kylian Mbappe, Arsenal finally signed a small, quick, French striker. Alexandre Lacazette is now an Arsenal player after the Gunners agreed to meet Lyon’s price of €53m rising to €60m, according to David Ornstein.
After being linked to the Arsenal for the past three summers, the Lacazette rumours have finally become reality. Arsenal have been criticised for their striking options ever since Robin van Persie left in 2012. Arsene Wenger will be hoping Lacazette can be the player to fill that hole in the squad.
Since selling Robin van Persie in the summer of 2012 Arsenal have Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud, Yaya Sanogo, Danny Welbeck, and Lucas Perez attempting to fill the hole up top. While Welbeck has found some success, Giroud has easily been the most successful of those signings with 0.46 non penalty goals per 90 minutes since joining the club in 2012, according to Squawka.com.
Giroud has been successful and is clearly a very good striker, but his problem is not necessarily a lack of quality, but a bad fit. Arsenal tend to play better when they have a mobile striker and his lack of mobility can often hurt the Gunners. This Arsenal team works best with a mobile player that can pull into the channel to unsettle opposition centre-backs and switch with the Gunners’ other lethal attackers. Giroud’s static target man style does not fit particularly well for the Gunners and can at times make the team bog down in attack as well as neutering their threat on the counter attack. Lacazette should fit the team much better with his speed, quick feet, and ability to pull wide and be a threat.
It is clear just from watching that Lacazette is significantly faster than Giroud, but he also has much quicker feet. This is pretty apparent in the eye test, but it can be backed up by looking at the dribbling numbers of the two. Lacazette had 1.75 successful take ons per 90 minutes last season, while Giroud had a mere 0.07 take ons per 90 minutes.
On top of being a better fit stylistically, Lacazette is no slouch when it comes to his goal scoring prowess. Lacazette has been one of the top goalscorers in France for the past few seasons, finishing with 27 (1.03 per 90 minutes), 21 (0.64), and 27 league goals (0.85) in his past three seasons, according to Squawka.com. It does have to be noted that his numbers are significantly boosted by penalties. That said, even after taking out his penalty goals he still scored 17 (0.65 per 90 minutes), 19 (0.58), and 19 (0.60) non penalty league goals in his last three seasons, according to Squawka.com.
Lacazette is a pretty clear improvement for the Gunners both stylistically and in terms of pure quality. If the Gunners can hold on to Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil the addition of Lacazette could give the Gunners one of the most dangerous attacks in the league.