Transfer Talk: Lacazette appears to be on borrowed time at Arsenal

Sam McGuire
LiveScore
13/08/202109:25
Alexandre Lacazette faces an uncertain future at Arsenal
Alexandre Lacazette faces an uncertain future at Arsenal

Arsenal have had a busy summer — and they are not done yet.

The Gunners have added Ben White, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares while Emile Smith Rowe, the club’s new No10, has signed a new long-term deal at the Emirates.

According to reports, Mikel Arteta still wants attacking reinforcements and Alexandre Lacazette could be sacrificed to make it happen.

Ahead of Arsenal's Premier League curtain-raiser at promoted Brentford tonight, we examine whether they should part ways with the man who finished as their top scorer last term. 

Now or never

The Frenchman, 30, is in the final year of his contract and his next deal will likely be his last real payday as a player.

Arsenal will be reluctant to offer him a big contract given they tied Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 32, down to a similar deal less than 12 months ago.

Having two strikers in their 30s eating up a large chunk of the wage bill is not the best for business.

Despite suggestions they would open talks over a new deal in April, Arsenal have yet to begin discussions with the former Lyon man.

This summer is their last opportunity to recoup money for Lacazette, who can sign a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs in January as things stand.

High stock

Alexandre Lacazette outscored his expected goals tally for the season with 13 last term
Alexandre Lacazette outscored his expected goals tally for the season with 13 last term

Despite racking up just 1,929 minutes in the Premier League last term, it was Lacazette’s second best in terms of productivity.

The No9 scored 13 goals, a tally only bettered by the 14 he bagged during his debut season in England.

His expected goals total for the season was just 9.7 — and that overperformance is the kind of ruthless edge goal-shy Arsenal desperately need.

Southampton sold Danny Ings for £30million and he scored fewer goals than Lacazette last season. 

Granted, there was an English premium added to the fee for Ings but there could be a market for the Gunners forward at a similar price.

Building for the future

Arsenal have been linked with Tammy Abraham this summer, who is compared here to Alexandre Lacazette
Arsenal have been linked with Tammy Abraham this summer, who is compared here to Alexandre Lacazette

The Gunners have tied Smith Rowe, 21, and Saka, 19, to long-term deals.

White, 23, and Lokanga, 21, make up part of a youthful core along with the likes of Gabriel Magalhaes, 23, Folarin Balogun, 20, and Gabriel Martinelli, 20.

Arsenal appear to be keen to add another youthful attacker to their ranks and were linked with Tammy Abraham, 23.

The Chelsea forward looks to be Roma-bound but someone of his ilk, with Premier League experience, ability and potential, would have been a perfect spearhead for Arteta’s new-look side.

Another name regularly mentioned this summer is Martin Odegaard, who shone while on loan from Real Madrid in the second half of last season.

Bringing the Norwegian back to the Emirates would make it even harder to fit Lacazette into a stacked forward line.

Questionable fit

Arteta has previously been full of praise for Lacazette, who is the club’s third captain after Aubameyang and Hector Bellerin.

Speaking after the 4-0 Europa League win over Slavia Prague in April, he said: "For me, in his style and in his development, even if he’s soon turning 30, he’s on the right path because he’s very willing to learn.

"He’s doing things in a much better way than before. He really glues the team together and that’s a quality that is not easy for a striker. He’s got it."

Despite those words from his boss, Lacazette started just once more before the season finished and did not even make the squad in three of the nine remaining matches.

It looked as though Arteta was already planning for a future without him. 

Face the facts

Alexandre Lacazette's heat map highlights a high volume of work in deeper areas
Alexandre Lacazette's heat map highlights a high volume of work in deeper areas

Lacazette has never been a guaranteed starter for Arteta — he even began last season behind Eddie Nketiah in the pecking order.

Martinelli is back in the mix after an injury-hit 2020-21 campaign and the Gunners are are actively seeking more reinforcements, with Odegaard and James Maddison believed to be targets.

With Smith Rowe and Saka expected to play an even bigger part in Arteta’s plans this season, it is hard to see where Lacazette fits in — regardless of any new arrivals.

If money needs to be raised, it makes little sense to keep an unwanted asset.

Tags

ArsenalAlexandre LacazettePremier League

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