Arsenal appear to be set on bringing in a big name striker to provide competition for Olivier Giroud. They have been linked with moves with Romulu Lukaku and Edinson Cavani, while turned down by Jamie Vardy. The latest striker being targeted is rumoured to be Alexandre Lacazette, a player who has been heavily linked to the Premier League in the past few years. The Lyon striker has a very good goal return in Ligue 1, but is far from the finished product, despite his big reputation. Arsene Wenger’s knowledge of the French game is superb and he will know the strengths and weaknesses of Lacazette, therefore if a move goes ahead, it will be one that is thought through.
West Ham United and Atletico Madrid are both also interested in the Frenchman, with the rumoured price tag being £45m. The former have made a bid close to £42m, which was turned down, but shows that Lyon are deadly serious of getting the fee they believe they should receive. Arsenal have money to spend and have spoken of the importance of adding three or four quality players, rather than spreading the spend across more signings. However, they have already spent £30m on Granit Xhaka, and it would be very un-Wenger like to invest £75m in two players during the same summer.
Lacazette has been inconsistent at times for Lyon, but an explosive end to the season has seen him confirm his status as a top striker. He scored 11 in his last ten league matches, including the an impressive hat-trick against AS Monaco. He missed out on the France Euro 2016 squad to many people’s surprise, with Didier Deschamps preferring to rely on two target-men in Olivier Giroud and Andre-Pierre Gignac. Lacazette can feel unlucky as he was in great form, and is a lot more tactically-flexible than people give him credit for. He can play on the wing or as a number nine, while his aggression and power allows him to hold up the ball, and play with his back for goal. He would have added an extra dimension to the squad.
His finishing is very good, as he always seems to know whether to go for power or placement. He is never rushed in the penalty box, and appears to be able to create an extra second to make a decision, rarely wasting clear cut chances. In terms of his overall play, Lacazette is good at retaining the ball, and has quick feet, which enables him to skip through challenges. He sometimes drops deeper and has the ability to play nice through balls to midfielders running into the box. He is a complete forward, capable of playing a number of roles and would provide another dimension to the Arsenal attack.
Lacazette is pacy, and has a quick turn of acceleration, which causes defence nightmares. Although he isn’t the biggest, he is aggressive and strong for his size, allowing him to hold off challenges. The physicality of the Premier League wouldn’t be an issue for the Frenchman. There are a few weaknesses to his game, including his consistency as he can go through a run of games struggling to influence the play. He can also struggle aerially, but that shouldn’t be an issue if Arsenal play him, as they like to keep the floor on the deck.
The Frenchman has been compared to Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, as he plays similarly and was switched from a winger to a forward. However, the pressure of such comparisons shouldn’t be placed on his shoulders. He would represent a change in style from Arsene Wenger, moving away from the traditional target man to a player, who offers a lot more. Lacazette has the full package, and although he won’t be effective as Giroud when it comes to holding the ball up, he offers tactical flexibility. Lacazette is difficult to mark as he can drop deep, run behind defences and has the skill to beat players, while he is a much better finisher than Giroud. If Arsenal sign him, it would be a huge statement of intent from Wenger.