It is finally official – Alexandre Lacazette is an Arsenal player.
The French striker has arrived from Lyon for a fee believed to be around £44m, with add-ons expected to take the amount closer to £52m. This of course tops the previous record – the £42m spent on Mesut Ozil in 2014 – but is it money well spent?
In short – yes. Very much so.
Spanish international Alvaro Morata is in the market this summer and any move looks to be in the region of £70m. Morata has time on his side of course but he scored less than half the goals that Lacazette scored last season.
There are more reasons to reinforce belief in our new star striker.
Lacazette was rated in the Top10 for shot conversion rate in the Top5 Leagues last season, he has scored 20goals or more in the last 3 seasons and Lacazette was also wanted by Atletico Madrid – and they have one of the most amazing track records for strikers.
The bearded Gaul is the real deal, and his all-round play is ready-made for the precision passing that Mesut Ozil provides. This hinges on the proviso that the German playmaker decides to stay at The Emirates, but it is certainly a tantalising prospect.
There are naysayers though. They point to his failure to establish himself upon Didier Deschamps Les Bleus plans and the apparent weakness of Ligue Un competition. This can be disbanded pretty quickly though.
Didier Deschamps once preferred Mahmadou Sakho over Laurent Koscielny so his judgment isn’t exactly indubitable. Also, recent seasons have shown French club sides have performed better than Premier League teams in the Champions League, so the gap in quality that used to be between the French and English domestic competition has shrunk considerably.
Lacazette scores in Europe, he makes intelligent runs and is ice-cold in the six yard box. He is adaptable and he is the finisher we have needed to give us a reliable source of goals. Every title winning team has one, and we can proudly say we have one of the best.
It is also a statement of intent. It shows we are ready to mix it with the big boys in order to strengthen. It will send a message to our rivals, and more importantly, to some of our stars who may be looking to other shores. They will be perhaps swayed by this purchase and who knows? It could be the push Alexis and Mesut needs to sign on the dotted line.
This is by no means finished business as far as our need to strengthen, but it is a huge move and it is early. Alexandre Lacazette is elite and has a pedigree hewn from four seasons at the top – and he has done the business in each of them. He is still only 26 and has yet to reach his peak. Under the tutelage of Wenger, Lacazette could even sway Deschamps, although there are an embarrassment of riches for France in attack.
Lacazette has signed a contract for five years, and if injury is avoided, we can look forward to our goal tally being bolstered by a large degree.
We as Gooners should enjoy this moment. Our club are aiming high.