These are exciting times at Arsenal as a long-awaited prolific goal scorer may be on his way to the Emirates before the season begins. Reports suggest that the Gunners are inching closer towards a deal for Alexandre Lacazette, and have gone in with an improved offer on last week’s £30 million for the Lyon frontman.
While fans begin the agonising wait to find out if the deal actually goes through or if it will turn out to be another disappointment, let’s assess the prospects. As of early August, Arsenal are priced at 13/2 with 32Red.com to win the league. But there is a real feeling that Lacazette could be the missing piece in Arsenal’s attack, and surely his addition to the squad would lead bookies to shorten those odds.
Lacazette is a French national who currently plays for Lyon. He came up through the youth system at his hometown club, and since 2010 has made 200 appearances for the club in all competitions. During that time, he has scored 79 goals, made 22 assists, and has a shots-per-game average of 2.1. Most of his goals have come in Ligue 1, but he does have some experience in Europe with 14 Champions League appearances and 4 goals. The 25-year-old has also represented his country at international level in every age group since 2006 and, although he missed out on Euro 2016, has made 10 appearances for the senior team.
Lacazette, who can operate in a number of attacking positions, attracted interest from a variety of clubs after he finished the 2014/15 season with 27 goals from 33 games (see above) and was named UNFP Ligue 1 Player of the Year. West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal have all previously been linked with the player, but now it looks as though Arsène Wenger may have won the battle.
It is mouth-watering thinking about how Arsenal may line up in the new season should the deal for this up-and-coming striker go through. Here is a theoretical formation with the players Wenger has available at the moment, and the inclusion of Lacazette as the focal point of the attack.
Not many would disagree that this line-up has the potential to dominate the Premier League. Arsenal sorely missed Santi Cazorla’s creative output in the last campaign, but when he is lined up next to new signing Granit Xhaka in the double pivot, Wenger’s men should be able to dominate the play in the midfield. This will give Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, and Aaron Ramsey the freedom they need to terrorise defenses, create space, and deliver balls through to the pacey frontman Lacazette.
For an injection of even more speed, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could also operate in that position on the right of a front three, as the 22-year-old has impressed in pre-season and Wenger has stated that he has high hopes for the player. Olivier Giroud could be used as an impact substitute to grab late goals from set pieces and also to hold up play.
No Arsenal fan needs reminding how long it’s been since the last time the Gunners won the league, but many will be hoping that Lacazette can be reminiscent of another Frenchman who was so pivotal during that title-winning campaign.
Arsenal scored 73 goals that season and Thierry Henry put away 30 of them. Not many strikers manage these kind of returns nowadays, but if Wenger’s new signing can bag between 20 and 25, it may be all that Arsenal need to win the competition this time.
Many are predicting the Manchester teams will dominate the league in the new campaign with their elite managers. 32Red have Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City at odds of 5/2 to lift the trophy, while 10Bet and Marathon Bet have both priced José Mourinho’s Manchester United at 3/1. What these odds don’t seem to consider is the fact that these managers will take some time to adjust, while Wenger is a seasoned expert in the division.
While United and City steal all the headlines, Wenger may have finally put together a team that is worthy of challenging for the title. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Arsenal sneak through and finally win it after all this time.