Arsenal never really wanted to sign Alexandre Lacazette.
Over the years, we were offered him up numerous times by Lyon. Each time a decision was made that the French international was not top level. Not good enough for The Arsenal. Inferior to Olivier Giroud (who starts ahead of him for France) and Alexis Sanchez.
Last summer we finally decided to sign him, for a club record price. But even then, we did not really want him.
He was due to join Atlético Madrid. Everything was in place, the deal was done. Madrid were then hit with a transfer ban causing the deal to fall through.
At the same time in North London, Arsenal were struggling to keep their two big stars. Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez were refusing to sign a new deal. Arsenal needed a big name signing. And the deal for Lacazette fell into the clubs laps.
Roll forward 9 months and the deal that took Lacazette to Arsenal certainly feels like one of opportunity rather than one that Arsenal actually wanted. He was available, and Arsenal needed a big name signing, even if they didn’t need the exact player.
The fact that in January Arsenal moved for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang highlights the club were never quite convinced by Lacazette. And now we sit here discussing how we can fit our two record signings into the same team.
I believe we will go down a different route.
Instead of trying to fit Lacazette and Aubameyang into the same team, Lacazette will leave Arsenal in the summer.
In the meantime, they will split the work load. Aubemeyang starting in the Premier League, Lacazette in Europe – as Aubemeyang is cup-tied.
Over at Atlético, the transfer ban is set to be lifted. Antoine Griezmann looks set to leave for Barcelona, and they will be going all out for a replacement.
Top of their list will be the man they nearly signed last summer. Alexandre Lacazette.
Will it be so shocking for the Spanish side to offer up the same money what Arsenal gave to Lyon to secure their man? It would be an easy deal for them to make, having been so close last summer. And it would also be a deal that Arsenal might be happy doing.
With Aubameyang now at Arsenal – and performing – the club will likely look to build the team around the triangle of the Gabonian, Henrik Mkhyitaryan and Mesut Ozil. This leaves Alexandre Lacazette as the odd man out.
Having had to sell Olivier Giroud to Chelsea to force through the Aubameyang deal, Arsenal’s strike force looks a bit “samey”. Danny Welbeck, Lacazette and Aubameyang are all great at running in behind, but none are exactly a big presence up top like Giroud was. This means we now lack a plan B.
Moving Lacazette on will free up space (and wages) to get a Giroud-esque player in. A lump of a forward who could then compliment Aubameyang. Give us an option on the bench. A battering ram. Maybe Chelsea would return Giroud to us?
Arsenal need someone like Mario Mandžukić from Juventus or Bas Dost from Sporting. These guys have real physical presence about them and give us that different option off the bench.
Alexandre Lacazette’s stay at Arsenal may well be over before it really began.