Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal side have been left behind by their rivals in recent years when it comes to competing for the Premier League title. But now with the signing of Alexandre Lacazette, can the Gunners find themselves back on top of the pile come May next year?
The Frenchman arrives for a club record fee of £52 million, from French Ligue 1 side Lyon where he has played 275 games and scored 129 in all competitions. His style of play has been likened to that of Arsenal legend Ian Wright, his power, pace and willingness to score all types of goals will certainly excite the fans.
It’s a massive statement by Wenger, who himself looked to be on his way out the door earlier in the summer, but instead signed a new two-year contract extension and insisted he could turn the club around and challenge once again for the League.
With the future of Alexis Sanchez yet to be sorted, the North London club will be hoping their star player can agree on a new deal and link up with Lacazette and Mesut Ozil, forming a trio that will cause nightmares for any defence in the world.
Olivier Giroud is another player whose future is yet to be decided, as the compatriot of Lacazette wants first team football but with competition for places hotting up, he may be forced to look elsewhere.
Arsenal will compete in this years Europa League campaign after finishing in fifth position last season, so for the likes of Giroud, Theo Walcott and co, there should be game time available as I feel Arsene will field a much weaker team in such competition, unlike Jose Mourinho last season with Manchester United, the Gunners coach will feel his side can qualify for the Champions League via a top four finish.
Having played for Lyon for the past nine years, Lacazette may have to find his feet in England’s top flight. It’s a country that players either announce themselves and come out of the blocks flying, or it can take time and add a whole heap of unwanted pressure – Andriy Shevchenko for Chelsea springs to mind, along with many other world-class players from around the globe who struggled to find their feet early on.
The 26-year old has European experience having played 47 times in both of UEFA’s top flight competitions, he has scored 15 goals also and will be hungry to fire Arsenal back into the Champions League. He has also featured for France on 11 occasions but has only managed one goal so far for his country.
After a frustrating season for Arsenal, Lacazette will be the much-needed boost the club will be looking for. A year of Wenger out, Wenger in banners and the manager’s future uncertain, it seemed to upset the balance and show itself in the inconsistent performances.
Wenger ended last season with a 5-3-2 formation, showing fans and pundits that he could adapt to the modern game after being in charge since 1996. With two wing backs and a front three, this gave his side much more creativity and Lacazette will slot in perfectly up front.
An area that arguably needs improvement is the centre of midfield, since Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva, the Gunners have failed to bring in players of such likeness and leadership. Granit Xhaka showed signs towards the end of last campaign, and with Jack Wilshere set to be returning after a loan spell at Bournemouth, maybe they can provide the perfect balance between attack and defence.
Arsenal’s new no.9 is already off the mark for his club following a 2-0 victory over Australian side Sydney FC on Thursday, the Gunners kicked off their pre-season tour with a win, Lacazette came off the bench for his debut in the second half and scored within 15 minutes.