Arsenal has broken its transfer record by signing Alexandre Lacazette for a reported €53 million, potentially rising to €60 million. It’s a huge move that should help Arsenal reinvigorate an attack that was lacking last season, and the club is hoping it’ll propel them back into the top four.
Lacazette joins from Olympique Lyonnais, where he’s spent his entire career. He’s been one of the most consistent strikers in Ligue 1 over the last four seasons, and scored 37 goals across all competitions during the last campaign. The 26-year-old has signed a five-year contract with the Gunners.
But the transfer fee is an expensive one for Arsenal, given that they won’t be making money from Champions League this season. Lacazette is the best goal-scorer Arsenal could have hoped to sign this summer, but his capture doesn’t make this window an instant success.
Arsene Wenger finally has the striker he wants
Lacazette has been a target for Arsenal for a long time now, essentially for as long as the 26 year old Frenchman has been lighting up Ligue 1 with Lyon. He’s the kind of heads-up, aggressive-thinking striker that Wenger loves, and he should work fantastically alongside players like Mesut Özil and Aaron Ramsey.
Giving Wenger that kind of player, one he’s long sought for Arsenal but struggled to find, could also help free up Arsenal tactically. Fans have long complained about the Gunners being too conservative or constrained, often blaming the various strikers the team has fielded for not being able to do what Wenger wants. Theoretically, then, Lacazette should be able to unlock those issues and make Arsenal the side they should be going forward.
Sanchez and Giroud are as good as gone
Of course, two players were very notably left out in the list of who Lacazette can work well with, and that’s because it seems almost certain that both Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud will be leaving the club now that Lacazette has arrived. The cost of signing Lacazette creates a financial need to sell players given that they don’t have any Champions League incomes this season — and it honestly seemed as though the relationship between the Gunners and the duo was starting to sour anyways.
Sanchez has been Arsenal’s most talented attacker since he signed, but the fit hasn’t always been a good one, creating friction at times as he struggled to work with an often-changing supporting cast and tactical setup. Giroud was honestly a good tactical fit for Arsenal, but his relative lack of speed and a bad reputation with fans, a breakup between he and Arsenal seems inevitable even without them needing to raise funds for bookkeeping reasons.
Does this actually make Arsenal that much better?
So with two good attackers almost certainly leaving the club, especially a high-level player like Sanchez, does signing Lacazette really help Arsenal all that much? He’s an excellent player, make no mistake, but he can’t fix all their ills on his own.
And with Arsenal not having a ton of money this summer to buy lots of players, spending this much on a single player seems a little questionable. They need several pieces to help strengthen their squad, and even after selling Sanchez and Giroud, their resources to do so will be limited after spending so much on Lacazette. It will be interesting to see what they do with the rest of their squad, because there’s a lot of questions for the Gunners to answer right now, more than Lacazette can answer on his own.