As reported by Sky Sports, Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette announced his return to boyhood club, Olympique Lyon after a five-year stint at the Emirates stadium. The Frenchman moved to the Groupama Stadium on a free transfer, signing a three-year deal till 2025. Lyon have undergone a financial crisis since the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, they had prioritised bringing the 31-year-old back to France.
His time at the North London side has come to an end with the team failing to cement a Champions League spot and Lacazette himself having a frustrating season with just four goals in the Premier League (stats via Transfermarkt).
He said at the beginning of this year that he was in talks with several clubs as his contract at the Emirates Stadium was nearing the end and hinted that he wanted to join a side back home in France. Olympique Lyon was among the potential suitors who wanted to secure the services of Frenchman.
Development and Breakthrough At Olympique Lyon
Having arrived at Lyon in 2003 at the age of 12, the French striker has played 15 seasons for the club, eight of them with the first team, featuring in 275 matches. He holds the record for most goals scored in a Ligue 1 season by a Lyon player with 28 goals in the 2016/2017 campaign and remains the only player to have crossed the 20-goal mark for three consecutive seasons in Ligue 1.
Alexandre Lacazette stands fourth in Lyon’s all-time scoring charts with 129 goals to his name. He won the Coupe de France and the Trophee des Champions in 2012. Lyon is the only club other than Arsenal that Alexandre Lacazette has played for in his professional career and his return will be celebrated like a club legend coming back after several years.
— Olympique Lyonnais 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@OL_English) June 9, 2022
Lacazette moved to the North London club in a £53million deal back in 2017 which saw a lot of hype from Arsenal fans. Arsene Wenger was known to scout the Ligue 1 for cheap options and then turn them into world-class players, examples being Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka to name a few.
The Frenchman had his best season at Arsenal in 2018/19 where he scored 19 goals and 13 assists in 49 games across all competitions (Stats via Transfermarkt). Lacazette’s explosive performances and excellent work ethic ensured he took home the Arsenal Player of the Season award in 2018/19. He brought the curtain down on his time at the Emirates Stadium with 71 goals in 206 games. He has added the FA Cup and Community Shield to his trophy cabinet.
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The return to Lyon, for Alexandre Lacazette, comes at the right time with the team going through a transition phase after finishing eighth in Ligue 1 last season. For unveiling their returning striker, Lyon announced a 71-second video which shows Lacazette coming into the dressing room to put on a Lyon shirt before walking out onto the pitch. His presence will bring some experience to the dressing room alongside the return of goalkeeper Remy Riou to the club and extensions for Maxence Caqueret and Anthony Lopes.
Arsenal, meanwhile, will also be looking to return to Champions League places next season. After losing the striker who cost what was then a club-record fee of £46.5m, it is clear for some time now that the Gunners need a major revamp in the striker department to get back to competing alongside the very best and as such, they have been linked with the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Paulo Dybala, Gianluca Scamacca and Victor Osimhen ahead of the 2022/23 season.
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