As the Aubameyang deal rumbles on with a few minor issues remaining, there’s the suggestion of a much larger one that involves the Gabon hitman seeking a more traditional attacking role, normally associated with a number 9. If that’s the case for Aubameyang signing a new deal, then Alexandre Lacazette could be packing his suitcase and heading off elsewhere which would be a shame because he has been highly underrated for his efforts over a difficult season.
Would the sale of Lacazette make sense? Not particularly, because he offers something completely different to the Arsenal skipper. At present, he reminds me of a modern-day Teddy Sheringham, able to score goals but capable of stretching out defences, making holes in the backline, linking the build-up play, and bringing players in.
He is capable of more goals of course, but the service has been patchy, to say the least, and he has become more poacher than predator. That isn’t his fault, it has been a failure for a while but it could be vastly improved next season.
He is an instinctive striker who can fend off defenders until he is rewarded or able to thread a pass forward to a teammate. He tends to relish tight marking and can work in incredibly claustrophobic conditions before coming up with the end product.
Aubameyang obviously feels he has more to give and more goals to plunder, but the loss of Lacazette will mean that Arsenal could well be short if the skipper were injured. Nketiah and Martinelli are learning the ropes and can not guarantee the type of consistent finishing that Aubameyang can. Lacazette gives you the threat of another kind.
Yes, he had a dip in form as Arteta shifted his systems and personnel around, but no one can complain about his work rate, work ethic, or general contribution. Aubameyang scored the goals in the FA Cup final win against Chelsea but Lacazette worked every blade of grass and kept the Chelsea defenders busy.
Arsenal requires quality but not at the expense of losing quality. Yes, Arsenal need cash but there are options available to raise £80m by selling just two, Guendouzi and Torreira. Lacazette has been mentioned in a swap deal but it’s certainly something that the Gunners shouldn’t entertain.
They could easily prize Thomas Partey away from Atletico with cash or cash and a loan of an academy prospect. You don’t need to sell the silverware when you could sell off the china first.
One assumes that Mikel Arteta would be reluctant to let the Frenchman leave even if it benefitted the club to the tune of £30m. Arteta knows that, although Lacazette’s goal tally was reasonably disappointing, he opens up space with his movement almost like a decoy, stretching the defence hither and dither.
I personally think Lacazette’s game has developed substantially and he employs skills that make him the perfect foil for his more prolific partner and as a double act instead of a triple, they complement each other’s game. If the Frenchman were to be thrown out with the bathwater, the new era would possibly see Willian, who signed a three-year deal with the Gunners, residing on one flank with Pepe in the other, but it will mean greater reliance on their captain and star.
Arsenal also need goals from other sources to prevent them from becoming a one-trick pony. Aubameyang is able to get free from any shackles and he will no doubt thrive in the main striker role but like Thierry Henry before him, he could be marked out of a game for long periods as the opposition attempt to neutralise Arsenal’s main threat.
The sale of Lacazette makes no sense when Arsenal are knee-deep in players that should have left seasons ago. I think it would be detrimental to the team and any ambition they have in the three domestic trophies available and the Europa League. That’s a lot of games and as a result, it will require a lot of options and resources, Aubameyang can’t possibly feature in them all.