When Arsenal acquired the proven goalscorer, who is one of the most prolific finishers in the game, bagging 37 goals in 45 games in all competitions for Lyon last season, and breaking the 20 goal barrier in 4 successive seasons,
Bear in mind that even doing so in 3 successive seasons in Ligue 1 has not been done since 1991, and also becoming the first player in Lyon’s history in 2015 to score 25 goals in a Ligue 1 season, a feat not managed by Real Madrid star Karim Benzema, you would have thought this would be met with undoubted positivity amongst all Arsenal fans.
However this is not the case. Questions arise as to why current Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud plays ahead of him for the France national team, and whether Alexandre Lacazette is an improvement on current options.
If Alexis Sanchez is to leave the club this summer, is the signing of Lacazette still going to be as effective, or is he actually seen as a replacement for the Chilean?
Is all this doubt justified?
Let’s take a glimpse into the mind of Arsene Wenger, who has served Arsenal as a manager for over 20 years, to determine his thought process in signing the striker.
The Premier League title is won more often than not by the top goalscorers in the league, rather than the best defence.
Arsenal have not been the top goalscorers in the league since the 2004-5 season, and they last won the league the season prior to that. This is the main reason that Lacazette is needed.
It is worth mentioning that the balance of the team as a whole and the creativity generated from the midfield are also crucial factors. However, there is no doubt that Arsenal must score more goals to win their first league title since 2003-4.
Regardless of various opinions amongst football fans, Giroud and Danny Welbeck are, in all honesty, very good players. However, both strikers are pretty much a contradiction of each other.
We have the Frenchman who can finish but cannot run, and there is Welbeck who can run but cannot finish. Wenger has acquired the services of Lacazette, who can do both.
The France striker has shown glimpses in pre-season of what can be expected.
He has already opened his goalscoring account for the club on his debut in a friendly against Sydney FC, with his first shot on target, and he showed against Bayern Munich that he fits into Arsenal’s style of play with his brilliant movement.
Although question marks about the validity of Ligue 1 as a true, competitive European league are inevitable, the qualities of a player with undoubted ability will not diminish, especially at 26 years of age, his peak years, and if anything, he will be provided with more goalscoring opportunities at Arsenal than Lyon.
If Arsenal can keep Sanchez, then the prospect of the Chilean, Ozil and Lacazette as a front three would cause problems for any defence, and will leave the fans drooling over the possibilities of what can be.
Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis must not give in and must keep the likes of Sanchez and Ozil, in a transfer window which has so far been exciting, with the further acquisition of Kolasinac, the Bosnian left-back, whom is versatile and can play across the defensive line as well as in midfield.
Arsenal have needed a striker like Lacazette to solve their problems up front for a while.
A lethal finisher who always gets himself into the best positions to score goals, and can score a diverse mixture of goals, with dinked finishes, tap-ins and slotting the ball into far corners, as well as the occasional strikes from distance.
Nevertheless, it is crucial that fans do not expect an overnight success. Former Arsenal midfielder and legend Robert Pires acknowledged this, stating: “I think he’ll be a success. But maybe he will need time to adapt.”
The Frenchman went further when speaking with Sky Sports to say: “To find the rhythm and the tempo, for me it took six or seven months.”
Pires likewise moved directly from Ligue 1 to the Premier League in 2000. It also took Thierry Henry a few months to adapt, albeit after moving from Juventus in Serie A, who then went on to become one of the greatest ever players to grace the Premier League.
Should adapt quickly
However, with Wenger remaining in charge, whom now has vast experience of England’s top flight division, Lacazette should be assured that he is in the right hands to cope with the pressure.
It took Ozil a year and a half to fill the massive void left at No. 10 over the years by Cesc Fabregas. However once he adapted, he became the assist king of Europe with 19 assists.
Last season was seen as a ‘flop’ season for the German, who still contributed with 12 goals and 12 assists.
Ozil was the previous record signing for Arsenal and it took him 18 months to adapt to the Premier League. If as suggested by Pires, it takes Lacazette a few months, there will most likely be screams of disapproval from Arsenal fans, which should not be the case.
Even current prized possession Sanchez faded after a good start to his Arsenal career, and it took him nearly a year to reach the same high standards set in the first six months at the Emirates.
The sum of £52m should be rendered meaningless in today’s crazy transfer market, and there should not necessarily be pressure on the Frenchman to be an instant hit, as shown by his international team-mate Paul Pogba’s world record £89m move to Manchester United from Juventus, who also took a few months to adapt.
Very positive signing
This is all of course hypothetical, and Lacazette may indeed become an instant hit, and he has the potential to be so.
In addition, arguments about whether he is a better striker than Giroud are pointless, and real emphasis should be put on whether he is better suited to Arsenal’s style of play, which he is.
Arsenal have made a very positive signing and if all fans can keep an open mind with a positive mindset going into the new 2017/18 season, then good times may be ahead with a Frenchman who is fast and a ruthless finisher leading the line, which brings back great memories indeed.
Written by Sina Latif
Follow Sina on Twitter @_sina93
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