It’s that time of year again, fans are captivated by nonsensical ideas we convince ourselves are intrinsically truthful. Arsenal fans have a well worn heart for the transfer window; the continual cycle of an apparent pursuit of an illusive target, the realisation that chasing this target was a futile exercise, and the sorrow of stagnation that proceeds the inadequate planning. That was, until this summer.
The pursuit of Kylian Mbappe always seemed an esoteric dream with little chance of actualisation, and miraculously Arsenal acknowledged and accounted for the minute chance of such a dream materialising. This contingency plan has found itself manifesting in the form of Alexandre Lacazette. The 7 syllables of the Frenchman have been on the tongues of the Arsenal faithful every summer since 2014, convincing ourselves of reasons as to why Le Professeur failed to sanction a deal for the forward. This patience in a deal has cost the Gunners an extra £20 million, and perhaps much more in lost silverware with the absence of the forward. The real question, the question on the lips of the fans across the country, across the footballing world, is this; have Arsenal finally got the striker to fire them to their first league title since 2004? The Answer?
Scepticism has clouded the case of Alexandre Lacazette, why is this? Many say Ligue 1 is a stomping ground for forwards, a breeze, a way of receiving praise far superior to what your talent warrants. Others allude to the fact that Arsenal’s very own Olivier Giroud is keeping Lacazette out of the France national team. Two basic arguments, simplistic, powerful and convincing. The foundations to them, however, are faulty, a deceptive illusion made to ensure the connotations of Arsenal and transfer mediocrity are sustained. So, the former. Ligue 1 lacks the robust defensive solidity often attributed to the Premier League, which itself is based upon the narrative the English media push to compensate for the technical deficiencies in the English game. If we are to take the defenders Lacazette mesmerises and humiliates as amateurish, we are to be naive, ignorant almost. The Frenchman is clinical, ruthlessly so, with the highest conversion rate in Europe’s top five leagues in 2016/17 (38.9%), Per Squawka. A stick used to ridicule the 26 year old is that 11 of his 37 goals last season came from the penalty spot. It would be lazy of myself to argue that ‘penalties are still goals’, because, although they are, this is a petty argument to justify such statistics with. Take out the penalties, and the Frenchman has still scored 28 goals last season, more than any Arsenal player bar Alexis (31 goals). Secondly, even if you are to completely negate the tactical impact Lacazette’s positional play would have on the Gunner’s, in the absence of Santi Cazorla, Arsenal are indecisive to say the least from the penalty spot. As for the national team, what can be said? A combination of Deschamps dislike of Lacazette and the transformation of Giroud into a Ballon D’or winning forward when in a France shirt has seen Alexandre forced to one side. A stain on the club-record signings repertoire.
What about that positional play? 5 years, 5 tiresome years the majestic qualities of Mesut Ozil have been restricted by the presence of Olivier Giroud. Don’t misconstrue or misinterpret this, the Gunner’s target man has been one of the best value for money signings in Premier League history, as well as delivering clutch after clutch moment, not only in both FA Cup finals, but off the bench of several occasions. It would idiotic of the Arsenal board to allow the Gunner’s number 12 to leave the club, he is, without a doubt, the best impact sub in the league. That is, however, the role he should serve. His qualities suit a tiring defence which can be worn down by whipped crosses. This game, whilst in Mesut Ozil’s repertoire, is not utilising the German to his potential. The use of Danny Welbeck has offered the dynamic movement in behind opposition defences, but well.. let’s face it, the Englishman in front of goal is like Bambi on ice, not a pleasant watching. Lacazette? A cold-blooded killer. The movement not only Ozil, but Alexis need to thrive has been either limited by Giroud’s presence, or by Welbeck’s inability to coordinate his legs. Now, in Lacazette, the difference will be monumental, a concoction of selfless and discisive movement with ice-cold finishing.
The last 12 months have been troubling watching for the Gunners board and fans alike, turbulent and tormentuous. The signing of Alexandre Lacazette, the signing of the forward so desperately pleaded for by the Arsenal faithful since the departure of Robin Van Persie, has finally arrived, do not let the media narrative convinced you otherwise. It is now down to us, the fans, to ensure come Leicester the first game of the season, the atmosphere is ready made for the thriving of the man who’ll lead the Gunners line. From all Arsenal fans,
Welcome Alexandre Lacazette.