Connect in the back of the net

Alexandre Lacazette has attracted a lot of attention this summer. Nothing else can be expected for a player who scored 31 goals in the previous season. Arsenal, Manchester United, PSG, Liverpool were said to be keen on the player with the Gunners seeming like they were leading the race for his signature at one time. However, it seems like the Frenchman will continue at Lyon.

Lyon coach Hubert Fournier said he saw Lacazette staying with the club, “He has said he wants to stay with us. Of course, some clubs are going to be attracted to the sort of player he is but he is under contract at Lyon and with all of the different competitions we have this season with the Champions League and the domestic French cups, we obviously want to keep him at the club.”

Lacazette is essentially a centre forward, but has also been deployed on the wings. He is a poacher or “a fox in the box”, and his finishing makes him a goal-scoring threat. He has scored a lot of impressive goals ranging from long shots to volleys.

The 24 year-old scored 15 league goals in the 2013/14 season and he seems to be improving constantly. This is important to mention because Lacazette’s name started doing rounds in every “best youngsters” list at a much younger age. After all, it was he who netted the game-winning goal in the 85th minute against Spain to clinch the 2010 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship. But the striker has now established himself, and it can be said that he is a finished product.

Lyon’s chairman Jean Michel Aulas said earlier this year that Lacazette was better than Gareth Bale and was basically un-transferable. He said at a time, “What is the name of that Welshman at Real Madrid? [Lacazette] is much better than him. There is no point even discussing transfer fees.”

Many think the player is overrated. Maybe the comments of Lyon’s president and coach over the course of last four months make him sound way better than he actually is. However, it is completely justified for a team – which came agonizingly close to the title last season – to do anything to keep the many suitors away from their most prized asset. Then of course, how over-rated can a player who scored 27 league goals last season be? And saying “it’s the weak French league” will be a sorry excuse.

Lyon don’t want to sell Lacazette for more than one reason and it is not difficult to figure out why the club values the striker so highly. It’s not just the goals. Lacazette has a big symbolic significance to the club. They don’t want another case of Karim Benzema, who was sold to Real Madrid for £30m back in 2009.

Benzema has been the biggest academy graduate for the French side and his sale still brings unwelcoming memories for the management and the fans. Lacazette is just like that for the club.

It is imperative for them that he stays, and by the looks of it, he might just be.

 

Written by Aakriti Mehrotra

Follow Aakriti on Twitter @Aakriti1

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