Bad news coming for the Arsenal fans. According to a report from Charles Watts of Football.London, there is a possibility for the Gunners to sell Alexandre Lacazette this summer.
The 27-year-old Frenchman joined Arsenal from Lyon in 2017 for a fee of around £52 million. Since then, Lacazette has been a consistent performer for the London side. He has scored 24 goals and provided 6 assists in 57 appearances so far for the club.
However according to the report from Football London, Charles Watt’s states that :
“As popular a player as Alexandre Lacazette is, the French striker could be moved on in the summer, depending on what offers may arrive.”
“Emery is not overly keen on pairing Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang together and the former has found himself either on the bench at times this season or being replaced during the second half.”
“At 27, Lacazette’s transfer value is high and it’s far more likely that he would be the man sold, should Arsenal decide to cash in on one of their two-star strikers.”
Further analysis of this report provides that there can be two major reasons for the sudden rumour.
First one is the limited wage budget available to Unai Emery. Despite having a poor performance following the 22 matches unbeaten streak, Arsenal have failed to bring any player in the January transfer window on a permanent basis. They could only manage to sign Denis Suarez from Barcelona which was, of course, on a loan deal.
Emery himself admitted that the club doesn’t have much budget for transfers during a press conference. Hence they can very possibly be forced to offload key players as Lacazette, thus joining the list of key players on their way out, with Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey.
Arsenal's win % when Alexandre Lacazette starts is 62% compared to 35% when he doesn't… [Opta] pic.twitter.com/XvJ5JdQ58Y
— AFTV (@AFTVMedia) January 11, 2019
The second one is that of Unai Emery and his tactics. The former PSG coach replaced Arsene Wenger with huge expectations on his shoulders. The Spaniard started the season well in his new club and it reflected in the results which gave the entire fanbase much reason for optimism and joy as the season had progressed initially.
However his recent squad selection and tactics have raised some serious questions among fans especially because of the absence of Mesut Ozil on the pitch. Seriously considering, how can a club like Arsenal pay £350,000 per week to a player, simply for just sitting at home and playing Fortnite during key clashes?
Moving on, it seems that the same thing may have happened to Lacazette too. Emery seems to prioritise starting the Gabon International Aubameyang over Lacazette. The French striker has started 18 League matches while Auba has started 25 League matches and the difference is for everyone to see.
Despite the frenchman’s match winning performances on more than one occasion since his return from injury, it may not be long before he too finds himself sidelined and in danger of being seriously considered expendable by the club.
Even if Emery allows Lacazette the pleasure of starting in a handful of games, he however rarely received the luxury of playing till the full time whistle on most occasions. More often than not, Lacazette has found himself sacrificed as a substitute to Aaron Ramsey in the second half. Lack of game time is definitely frustrating for any player and it is not apt to bash upon Lacazette’s decision if he decides to leave in summer if this continues.
In my opinion, as a player, I will choose Lacazette over Aubameyang any day. Even though PEA has an upper advantage in terms of goal ratio which makes him the ideal candidate for the striker position. Lacazette has the potential and ability to bring something more than just goals when he is on the pitch. He is capable of holding the ball as well as creating spaces for wingers and midfielders while positioning himself effectively up top. This in my opinion makes him invaluable and makes me hold him in a higher regard than the Gabon international.
Lacazette delivers goals during crucial and much needed occasions and that too in a spectacular manner (not just tap-ins). Also, Aubameyang gets more freedom when playing alongside with Lacazette, rather than without him. The French striker seamlessly tends to drag out defenders to him thus creating the space and the chance for Aubameyang to function much more fluently and effectively than he normally can while playing up top solely.
Those who choose to analyse football by stats may consider Auba as a more valuable asset and better than Laca because he has that higher goal ratio and effectiveness in terms of goal scored. But Alexandre Lacazette’s hard work, commitment and the ability to bring others into the game on the pitch can never be matched.
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After all, football is not about the goals itself, its always about much more than that and that is what a player like Lacazette so beautifully epitomises.
Lacazette is in the prime of his life at the moment. He is consistent and versatile. Transferring the 27-year-old seems utterly illogical to me. In case Aubameyang gets injured in the season, there is no other proper centre forward who can pick up the slack when the team needs it. Hence It would be a near impossible task to find a player like Lacazette who plays so beautifully with his heart and feet and can do the job as well as him.
Hence it is my earnest desire that Arsenal in all their wisdom do see the long term picture here and do not end up selling the Frenchman just for the sake of petty transfer funds.