Since the days of Thierry Henry, Arsenal have lacked a striker with the goal scoring ability to fire them to a Premier League title but, 13 years on from The Invincibles, The Gunners are rumoured to be in the hunt for a man who could end that drought.
Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette has been a long term target for Arsenal, even having a £29m bid rejected last summer.
12 months on and it appears that it’s now or never for the Frenchman to make the move to The Emirates.
At the beginning of February, Lacazette spoke to French broadcaster Canal+. What the 25-year-old had to say put Europe’s top clubs on red alert.
“I think it has arrived at the right time, I think this summer will be the moment when we will have to change the air and discover something else.”
So, the time has come for Lacazette to finally make his big move that has been years in the making. I have been monitoring his progress for a number of seasons and it’s safe to say that I am a huge fan.
With Atletico Madrid and Liverpool also reportedly interested, this is why I believe Arsenal need to pull out all the stops to get their hands on one of the world’s best strikers.
In all competitions this season, Lacazette has scored 28 goals in 33 games, finding the back of the net every 94 minutes, a very impressive stat to say least, especially when compared to the world’s best marksman.
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored every 113 minutes this season, while Luis Suarez grabs a goal every 116. Considering that Ronaldo is a four-time Balon d’Or winner and Luis Suarez is considered by most to be the best number nine in football, it would be an understatement to say that Lacazette isn’t doing too badly.
Across his seven seasons at Lyon, Lacazette has amassed 241 appearances and scored 110 goals. Even though this might not seem that impressive on first glance, comparing his first three season to the four most recent shows exactly why and highlights his rapid development.
Coming through Lyon’s academy, Lacazette was considered as a winger by the clubs hierarchy, playing out wide in his first three seasons, scoring just 11 goals in 81 games.
At the beginning of the 2013/14 season, head coach Remi Garde moved Lacazette into a central striking role, a decision that turned out to be a tactical masterstroke.
In the 160 games since, the Frenchman has been clinical, scoring 99 times, a record better than a goal every other game.
It’s clear that Lacazette can score goals but, what else can he offer Arsenal’s attack?
Olivier Giroud is often criticised for being too one dimensional, relying solely on his strength and aerial prowess but, Lacazette has more than just one string to his bow.
Equally comfortable bursting in behind defences or creating problems from deep with the ball at his feet, Lacazette’s pace and power can make him unstoppable at times.
His movement would also suit Mesut Ozil perfectly, forming a deadly duo, should the German stay and Lacazette join.
The Lyon man is also capable of scoring different types of goals, if you don’t believe me, use the greatest scouting tool of all time, YouTube highlight reels, and you’ll see for yourself.
Despite only having four assists this season, Lacazette is also very good at bringing team-mates into attacks. His 77% pass completion this campaign betters both Robert Lewandowski’s 75% and Luis Suarez’s 73%.
Lacazette has drawn comparison to the legendary Thierry Henry over the years and it’s easy to see why.
They even share the same weakness, heading.
Of his 171 Premier League goals, Henry scored just five headers, while Lacazette has one from his 28 goals this season but, you can’t really complain if they still score you 25 plus goals a season, can you?
In my opinion, Lacazette is exactly what Arsenal need, a consistent goal scorer, who is capable of adapting to different situations and remain equally as devastating. He would quickly become a fan favourite.
As for him being the striker that Arsenal need to win the league, I believe he could be that man, but he must be surrounded by quality players, whether that be in the form of Ozil and Alexis Sanchez or a completely restructured attack.
The signing of Lacazette would also satisfy Arsenal fans before he’s even stepped on the pitch. The calls for a world class striker and big money to be spent have been going on for years, with the 25-year-old fitting both categories.
Valued at £34m on transfermarkt, Lacazette would likely cost in excess of this figure. Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas is a notoriously difficult negotiator and will want the best price possible for his star man.
So, this is a plea to the Arsenal board and whomever may be in the Arsenal manager’s hot seat next season, I want Lacazette! We all want Lacazette! Get Lacazette!
In the words of Morrissey
“So for once in my life, let me get what I want”.