Sports Football Assessing Whether Arsenal Should Sell Alexandre Lacazette This Summer

Assessing Whether Arsenal Should Sell Alexandre Lacazette This Summer

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Alexandre Lacazette
Mikel Arteta may have a decision to make on Alexandre Lacazette’s future. | Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Every club these days appears to be in some form of transition.

Whether it’s behind the scenes, with the backroom staff or a considerable squad overhaul, very few sides can sit back and soak up the summer rays with a content outlook on the future.

Under the watchful eye of Mikel Arteta, the second summer rebuild that Arsenal were supposed to be entering has been torn up tossed in the bin. The reset button has been hit. Change is afoot, again.

Opting against mincing his words towards the latter end of the Premier League season, the rookie Spanish boss publicly stated on numerous occasions that Arsenal need new, and better players.

Remember ‘better’ players*, we’ll come back to that.

With a trophy in the bag and European football on the horizon to boost the bank balance a tinge, Arteta’s work thus far has impressed more than just the locals. But he is under no illusions that this level of improvement can’t be maintained without a significant squad upheaval. After all, it may have ended well, but Arsenal still finished in eighth place in the top flight table last season.

COVID-19’s impact on football finances are still weighing heavy on clubs’ shoulders across the continent, which has only added to the deluge of issues facing the north London side at a time of serious unease. It’s not possible for Arsenal to remain as bystanders to the Champions League, they must return next season or risk falling further afield. And then some.

Players need to come in, thus players need to head out to finance such deals.

Arsenal v Chelsea - FA Cup Final
The FA Cup title last season was Lacazette’s first with Arsenal | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

One name mentioned among the potential departures is Alexandre Lacazette.

Scooping the Player of the Season gong two terms ago, it’s plain to see that the Frenchman is highly thought of by his supporters. That generally boils down to a rugged determination and persistent style of play, not for the number of goals he scores – of which there were fewer last season than desired.

He wears his heart on his sleeve, which nobody can rebuttal, but that is sometimes to his own detriment. Trying too hard on occasion, it filters into his game and rubs off in the form of missed chances and ducks in front of goal.

Lacazette does, however, still boast admirers across Europe, the like of whom have been rumoured to weigh up bids in the region of £30m to bring an end to his three-year stay at Arsenal. At 29 years old, with two years left on his deal, that’s the kind of money Arteta won’t turn his nose up at.

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal FC - Premier League
Fans are torn on Lacazette | Michael Regan/Getty Images

A sum that big can go a long way towards acquiring the Spaniard’s preferred targets, many of whom are thought to be in midfield.

On the surface, if such a bid were to come in, it would be folly to at least not consider it.

Yet, while in defence Arsenal are safe to part with around 30 centre-backs and still have 70 left, in attack, they’re thin on the ground. Just Eddie Nketiah fits the striking mould after Lacazette. Doubters will be lighting their torches and grasping for their pitchforks given Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s name wasn’t mentioned in that bracket, but it’s fair to say he is no longer the same brand of forward.

Almost exclusively playing on the left, which merges into an inside forward, it’s unlikely he’ll revert to the focal point of the attack now Arteta has found his groove with those tactical alterations. He’ll be staying out wide, of that we can be sure.

Sell Lacazette and the striking burden will weigh heavy – far too heavy – on Nketiah. At just 21 years old, it’s irrelevant how much promise he has, he can’t fly the flag domestically and in Europe all by himself. Therefore, the money wouldn’t go elsewhere, it’d just go on another striker.

Who*, though? If the Frenchman goes then another striker must be brought in, but who is feasibly available within the £30m price bracket that can improve the overall quality of the squad and fire the club back into the top four?

In the current market, you’re clutching at straws. Negotiations will last a while, Arteta needs immediate results and the player in question needs to be satisfied with Europa League football. In other words, it’d be hard graft.

An element that could sway Arteta against selling Lacazette is an altered style of play next term. It’s the worst kept secret that Arsenal sorely lacked creative nous in the final third, as on the occasions the Frenchman started, it was he who was tasked with dropping deep, bringing others into play and linking the lines.

Will Arteta be bidding goodbye to Lacazette this summer? | OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Fans displeased with his lack of goal output could be converted by a newer style of play, one that appears in the works with the addition of Willian on a freebie. If someone else carries the mantle of makeshift number ten, then Lacazette may be given the freedom to lurk in the box more. Which, ultimately, and obviously, means he could score more.

There is also his presence in the dressing room. He’s vocal and aggressive, yet friendly and calming compatriot to the rest of the squad – none other than Aubameyang. Ensuring that status quo is not affected ahead of a Premier League season that’s unimaginably important could have an impact on squad morale.

Is there actually an answer to the question of sell or keep? At present it feels all too unsure. it’s a struggle to even come to a conclusion as to whether the pros outweigh the cons. While it’s impossible to read Arteta’s mind right now, the fact no strikers have been linked with Arsenal this summer may to telling enough.

For more from Ross Kennerley, follow him on Twitter!

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