Make no mistake about it, Alexandre Lacazette would be a marquee signing for any top European side and the fact that Arsenal have managed to acquire his signature without the lure of Champions League football represents a real coup for the club.
The forward recently signed a five-year deal with the North London giants for an initial fee, which is believed to be about £46.5 million but could rise to £52 million in potential bonuses. Arsene Wenger has made no secret of his desire to sign Lacazette and the Gunners have been repeatedly linked with the French striker for the last few seasons.
It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to label the 26-year-old as prolific – he scored an impressive 100 goals in 203 appearances for Lyon and has managed more than 20 goals in Ligue 1 for the last three consecutive seasons. Wenger has finally got the player he wants but the question remains, is Lacazette the player Arsenal really need?
Source: The Independent
With Olivier Giroud arguably Arsenal’s number one out and out striker, much has been made about the future of the big Frenchman and how/if he will fit into the Arsenal team due to Lacazette’s arrival. Whilst Lacazette obviously guarantees goals, Giroud’s scoring record is not to be scoffed at and the former Montpellier man has netted 69 goals in 164 appearances in the four seasons he’s spent at the club.
More importantly, Giroud, at 6’4, is more effective in holding the play up and is far more potent in the air than the 5’9 Lacazette. In his time at Arsenal, Giroud has won 4.4 aerial duels per 90 minutes as opposed to Lacazette’s 1 at Lyon and has an aerial duel success rate of 55.5% compared to Lacazette’s fairly paltry 36.1%.
The formidable forward demonstrated his aerial prowess in the Premier League last season in games such as Bournemouth away, where the Gunners came back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 and at Manchester United last November where he earned his team a valuable 1-1 draw against Jose Mourinho’s men with a last minute bullet header.
Source: BBC Sport
Whilst it could be argued that there’s a stat to back almost anything up nowadays, the striker situation surrounding the French national team is perhaps more telling when it comes to the merits of both players. Giroud has started the last three games for France and remains the main man up top despite Lacazette’s eye for goal, indicating that that Didier Deschamps may feel the former brings more to the team both offensively and defensively.
France are 13/2 with various international football betting websites to lift the World Cup in Russia next year and the 31st August sees them take on the Netherlands at the Stade de France in a World Cup Qualifier which France probably need to win in order to avoid a dreaded play-off fixture.
With a quick glance at the recently released Premier League fixture list, Arsenal look to have three tough games on paper before Lacazette and Giroud join up with their national team. Arsenal welcome 2015/2016 Premier League Champions Leicester to the Emirates in the first fixture of the Premier League season on the 12th August before two tough away games at Stoke and Liverpool, respectively.
Both neutral onlookers and diehard Arsenal fans alike will be watching with keen interest to see just how Arsenal line up and more importantly, how Lacazette settles into the Premier League. With recent reports linking Giroud with a move away from the Emirates, only time will tell as to whether the two French strikers will get a chance to battle for the red jersey.