Arsenal's Signing of Alexandre Lacazette Should Pay Immediate Dividends
Fans of the Gunners have something to smile about early in the transfer window as Arsenal secured the services of forward Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon. The deal is said to be somewhere in the region of $60 million, which is a club record.
Lacazette and his pure goal-scoring ability will immediately move into the attack and could help the club keep Alexis Sanchez for next season. Amid rumors that Sanchez could be making a move away from the club, the signing of a top-class striker could be enough to sway the forward to stay with Arsenal.
Lacazette scored 76 league goals over the past three season for Lyon, and he has tallied more Ligue 1 goals than any other player since August 2013. Lacazette racked up 37 goals across 45 matches last season to help Lyon finish fourth in the league and make a run to the semifinals of the Europa League.
GRAPHIC: Alexandre Lacazette #AFC pic.twitter.com/zDB8giCLRr
â€” WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) July 5, 2017
Lacazette could set up as the lone striker, with Sanchez and Mesut Ozil playing just off the Frenchman. Arsenal were dynamic at the end of last season when they played with three up front in attack and a three-man back line. Danny Welbeck was deployed up front, but he struggled to finish chances despite opening up channels for Ozil and Sanchez.
It is unclear if Arsene Wenger will stay with a back three, as he has stated that move was out of desperation. Welbeck also played well enough to stay on the pitch. That -- and the possibility that Sanchez does leave -- means that Ozil is likely to play right behind the new signee to spur the attack.
Alexandre Lacazette's chance conversion rate over the last 3 seasons:
2014/15 = 34.61% âš½ï¸
2015/16 = 23.33% âš½ï¸
2016/17 = 38.89% âš½ï¸ pic.twitter.com/F5rrZGPaBI
â€” Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 5, 2017
Arsenal were sixth in the league in shots last season. They finished fifth in goals but third in big chances missed. That stat will change if Lacazette has the same results in the Premier League as he did in Ligue 1. Of course, Arsenal had a good conversion rate last season. It will be consistency, rather than spurts, that Lacazette can bring.
In some of his first comments after the signing, Lacazette stated that it is a dream to sign for Arsenal given the connection to the club and other French players like the legendary Thierry Henry. Lacazette's arrival came with much more fanfare than Arsenal's first signing of the year, Sead Kolasinac, who arrived on a free transfer from German club Schalke.
Lacazette, not afraid to shoot. Can create space for himself and is good on the counter. #WelcomeLacazette âš½ðŸ”¥ pic.twitter.com/Akt1w8DGEo
â€” RG (@Lacazettes) July 5, 2017
Nothing is guaranteed in the game of soccer, but Lacazette should be a top performer for Arsenal this season. The off-the-field impact could be just as important if Sanchez stays on for one more year. Perhaps adding one more piece, like Riyad Mahrez to complete the LMAO attack, is what is necessary to keep Sanchez. Regardless, there is a reason to be optimistic if you are a fan of the Gunners.