Since the exit of the legendary French striker, Thierry Henry, Arsenal have struggled to bring in goalscorers who have a proven track record of scoring goals at rates comparable to other strikers at clubs in direct competition with Arsenal.
Until this summer, there had been the arrivals of Emmanuel Adebayor, Julio Baptista, Eduardo, Marouane Chamakh, Park Chu-Young, Lukas Podolski, Yaya Sanogo, Danny Welbeck, Lucas Perez. It Is safe to say, however, that apart from Yaya Sanogo who was a relatively unknown young prospect, none of the aforementioned strikers had any proven track record of scoring goals at big clubs striving to attain success in the form of trophies.
The dearth of quality in the Arsenal squad, the striker’s position in particular, has somewhat coincided with a sustained period of failures and disappointing results in the Premier league and the UEFA Champions League. Arsenal have ranked in the top 3 teams to have created the average highest number of clear cut chances in the Premier League in the last six years, yet they have been outscored by at least 3 or more teams in each of those seasons.
July 5, 2017, Arsenal announced the signing 26-year old French forward Alexander Lacazette from Olympique Lyonnais in a record breaking deal worth around £50m. Can Lacazette be the turning point? I look at why he might just be…
PROVEN GOAL RECORD
Alexander Lacazette has proven to be a striker who knows how to find the back of the net on a more regular basis than alot of strikers. He’s joining Arsenal on the back of a season where he’s scored 37 goals in 45 games for Lyon, including 28 in the League. He also boasted the highest shot conversion rate of any striker who played at least 20 league games in the 2016-2017 season. Alexandre Lacazette scored 28 goals in 2016 becoming the highest French goalscorer in a calendar year, a record set by former Ballon D’or winner Jean-Pierre Papin in 1991. In relation to Arsenal, Lacazette scored more goals in the league last season than all of Giroud (14), Welbeck (2), Lucas Perez (1) and Theo Walcott (10) combined. It is also worthy of note that Lacazette scored 20+ goals in the last three consecutive seasons in the Ligue 1, a feat not even the great Ibrahimovic could achieve in his time in France
Having played in 47 games and scored a respectable 15 times in European club competitions, Alexandre Lacazette comes into Arsenal with big games experience and ability to get involved on European nights when Arsenal have seemed to lose themselves against their more illustrious competitors.
STYLE OF PLAY
Lacazette has speed, can run in behind Defenders, confound opposing backlines and has a clinical finish. He previously played as a winger for Lyon before becoming a striker, he can dribble and he presses opposition defenders when not with the ball. At just 5ft 9″, what he lacks in size he has more than enough in his other qualities – Finishing, Versatility and attacking prowess. He won’t win too many aerial duels, but that was never Arsenal’s game. “The team I join will have to play good football – passing the ball, not just hitting it from box to box. Not kick and rush. That would not work for me.” said Lacazette at the end of last season
Some say at 26 he might be losing some of his pace already, but haven been well established as a goalscorer, spending so much time in France leading the lines for Lyon has afforded him time to grow himself in leadership, character and maturity.
Of course, it would be expected that the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil would play a very big role in any form of upturn in results and performances, but at almost five years younger than Olivier Giroud and with a broader skill-set, Alexandre Lacazette is a big addition to the strike force for the here and now. It is left to see, however, if his goals would be the Turning Point For Arsenal Football Club