Four goals in five days is not a bad return for a player who took a fair bit of stick for a terrible miss in last week’s Europa League quarter-final first leg.
In the absence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – waylaid by malaria – Alex Lacazette has led the line with steely determination this week, playing a vital role in and around the box as a goal-getter and a link man.
A far cry from our attacking woes prior to Christmas, the Gunners have looked genuinely slick in attack against Sheffield United and Slavia Prague on the way to two much-needed wins. It bodes well for the run-in.
“It shows the personality that Laca has,” said Arteta when asked about the Frenchman’s character.
“He missed two big chances in the home game and then you have to see a reaction.
“That reaction could be with some fear, some doubt or feeling a little bit guilty. Or the other one is to have a strong personality and to react, to say, ‘Now I’m going to put them in the back of the net’.
“He’s done that in two games consecutively, being really, really efficient. Then his momentum continues, the form that he’s in continues and it’s really important for the team.”
It’s unclear at the moment if Lacazette is in Arteta’s long-term plans. The striker will enter the final year of his contract in June and the club, who don’t seem particularly keen on offering the 29-year-old a new deal, could look to sell to raise much-needed funds.
Somewhat ironically, a player who hasn’t been nearly as prolific as we’d have liked since he signing from Lyon in 2017 is now only two goals shy of matching his best tally for a season. He hit 19 goals in 2018/19 on the way to being named the club’s player of the season.
If Arteta still harbours doubts about the striker, he kept them close to his chest last night.
“In key moments and in big matches, you need players – and senior players who have this experience – to make the difference for you.
“For me, in his style and in his development, even if he’s soon turning 30 years old, 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.”
Sign him up for another 2 years!
I wouldn’t, as him plus Auba would make our age and wage balance up front quite poor.
But he is a good player indeed.
Agree, we have long struggled to play them together (strangely Emery managed to an extent but even then we didn’t have both of them firing on all cylinders, simultaneously).
Laca, has enjoyed being the main man, the last few weeks. He also is looking for his last big contract.
We’ll not be able to afford to pay Auba and Laca top dollar and rather use that money in the creative department or a younger striker to fill-in between the senior striker (Auba or Laca) and the young striker (Gabriel).
So, I’ll say let’s offload Willian!
For me one of Laca or Auba have to go for reasons mentioned. I think that makes it pretty clear. We know both can have long good or bad patches. Auba carried us for long stretches, but Laca filled in well, if Auba did not carry. Both have different skillsets. The Club and Arteta have to decide which way to go for me. But for me it is clear, that both just bring the mentioned unbalance in agestructure, wagestructure and deployability (Auba on the Left is dead for me)
Laca can help us power through Villereal but i am exited to see what lineup we play
If Willian is the reason we can’t keep Auba and Laca, he’s an even bigger mistake than I originally thought. I don’t think we should give Laca a really expensive contract but for those (not you) who are making the argument that we’re overstocked on strikers… Arsenal central strikers in 1999-2000 (year we bought Henry) – Davor Suker, Christopher Wreh, Dennis Bergkamp, Nwankwo Kanu, then Henry Central strikers in 2005-06 (CL final) – Jose Reyes (RIP), Bergkamp, Robin van Persie, Henry, Emmanuel Adebayor, and then youth like Nicklas Bendtner and David Bentley. It’s kind of crazy we haven’t managed to… Read more »
If anyone in the entire squad deserves to be moved on, it Willian.
A far bigger fish to fry than worrying about Laca.
We need to get rid of the players who haven’t performed at all this season- not our leading goal scorer.
We tried Laca as “Bergkamp” against Rapid and then absolutely flopped against Spurs and then it stopped or so. Playing both takes away a spot for ESR, Saka, Pepe, Martinelli, etc. That coletaral damage is too much for me.
Football has moved on, one striker or a false 9 is the better way now
No matter how well Laca plays between now and the end of the season, he should be sold. These performances are raising his value, but the more important piece for Arsenal in the long run should be to find a way for Martinelli to be in the 1st XI and maximize his potential. The way he roasted that defender last night and almost scored an Henry style goal was a glimpse of what he offers, something which Laca will never have in his toolbox.
I would support this is we received a very good offer for Auba this summer, but having two 30+ strikers on big contracts who seemingly can’t play together doesn’t seem like good squad planning, especially when Martinelli and Balogun are both starved of minutes.
For me this is about team building and who you are building around. I don’t think it’s either of these strikers – it’s Saka-ESR-Pepe-Martinelli and Odegaard if we get him. Which 30+ striker fits with that group now, and/or which will best mentor Gabs or Pepe or Balogun? We are clearly beyond investing in both Auba and Laca. I’m just not settled on which is the better fit.
if we can sell him for decent bucks in the summer, that’s fine. if we can’t sell him for enough and have to keep him for another year, that’s also fine. but just don’t give him a whopping big three to four year contract – not because of his quality or anything, but just because that’s not a good long term investment.
We should not sell him, he still has a lot to offer the team.
Yes he has something to offer for us, but for how long? And the Auba/Laca situation demands a decision for me. But we should not let people go for free anymore. That should be a thing of the past.
We shouldn’t let contracts run down to the final year as we have with Laca. That only reduces the value of a player if the club decides to sell. I recall reading that Arsenal were determined to prevent that wherever possible, following debacles like Sanchez, but it keeps happening.
It keeps happening because there’s very few top quality replacement players going for a bargain basement Kroenke budget price. Unless you’re City or Chelsea you hang on to your top players for dear life – unless they get enticed away by City or Chelsea themselves (ditto PSG, etc)
Laca is worth far more to us helping to further develop this batch of kids next season – rather than a few measly quid in a market where in order to sign anyone decent, we’d have to borrow upwards of £50m from Uncle Stan again anyway.
At almost 30 with a year left on his contract (why do we keep getting into this position over contracts?) we’re unlikely to get a fortune for him, despite his good form. A recent report suggested around £15 million. That may be a tad conservative but I think we’d accept anything approaching £20 million if offered. If we don’t sell him and offer, say, a two year extension then he’ll have little/no transfer value at the end of it as you suggest. It depends what the club wants to do but, with Auba, two 30+ strikers may well be one… Read more »
Laca is very underrated. Unfortunately the team hasn’t always been set up to bring the best out of him. But you can see how critical he is when the team is more balanced.
This is absolutely true – he’s not in a team that allows him to play to the best of his abilities, so we should look to move him to a club where he can, hopefully in return for a big wad of cash. Maybe he’d fancy a move back to Lyon if we go back in for Aouar
Big wad of cash…?! This is the real world, not FIFA ‘21..!! Mate, we’re not going to get anything like a big wad of cash for him. He’ll be far more useful to us next season doing what he’s doing now – helping the youngsters and weighing in with some goals.
I say we keep him. Look, how many proven international regular goal scorers are there available in the market for the sort of budget that we’re used to having live with? Not many. Yes, he’s knocking on a bit and lacks pace for an entire 90 minutes, but he has helped to bring these youngsters on a treat – one of the very rare successes of an otherwise awful season. Experienced players are worth their weight in gold when a new young side is emerging. I still think he could do that job next season whilst Flo settles into the… Read more »
Is Lacazette a “proven international goalscorer”? He’s not hit 15 league goals since he moved to England, and he hasn’t played for France since 2017. I like Lacazette and I think he’d do well in another system, but it’s not like trying to replace Van Persie or Alexis
Ask yourself how much we paid for him. Is he a proven International and therefore experienced? Yes. Does he score goals? Yes – he’s our top goal scorer this season.
Bringing in the kids is great, but you need experienced utility guys to help them settle into the first team and gain confidence. Laca offers that in spades. What the manager is referring to here as ‘the glue.’
“His current form” is two games against bad teams. He was “terrible” in the first leg.
Fans are fickle, football clubs should have long-term plans.
Those plans should include selling your aging back-up striker when he has a year left on his contract.
And replace him with who? And before you say Flo, the lad is an inexperienced youngster as far as regular Premiership football is concerned. He’s going to need players like Laca to help him make that transition from the reserves to the first XI.
Here’s the thing: Lacazette is now our Giroud. Not quite as prolific as we’d like but ultimately the central point which knits our play together. I’m not saying he’s quite as good as Giroud at doing this (probably a better finisher), but we need someone like him in the team. Whether we sell him for decent money and buy a replacement, keep him, or promote Balagun early, we absolutely have to have someone playing this role in our team.
What about selling Laca for £15/20m, and bringing back Giroud.
That would be a good option, but I think an even better offer is to sell Laca for £70/75m and bring in Haaland. I think Arsenal also should sell Bellerin for 85£m, and bring in Ødegaard and some other top talent players with the proceeds. Also, obviously pay me 10£m for coming up with all these awesome, totally realistic ideas.
Which is why we’d be daft to sell him.
The pros far outweigh the cons.
Lacazette looks like he is running on glue*?
Take his goals away that he’s scored for us this season and see where we’d be without him.
I like Laca (works hard for team) but the reality is he hasn’t really been a great signing for us. We signed him at a significant cost (& let Giroud leave a few months later as a result) to be a primary goal scorer & significant upgrade on Giroud. Instead we’ve gotten a slightly worse goal return than Giroud with arguably similar traits in terms of holding up the ball, linking play etc. He’s had games where he’s been terrible this year, but also has played some absolute blinders as well. That said it’s almost a no brainer to sell… Read more »
I couldn’t disagree more. Lacazette has been a great signing. I liked Giroud but with the exception of aerial power there is no doubt that Lacazette is a vastly more skilful player and also your facts are wrong as his goal ratio is better than Giroud. They are such vastly different players that it’s hard to do a comparison.
They really aren’t wildly different players – they both primarily excel at link up play and bringing others in (Giroud is significant airiel threat as well) vs. being significant goal threats.
Laca has in 4 years of PL for us scored: 13, 10, 13, 14 goals.
Giroud’s 5 full seasons with us: 112, 16, 14, 16, 16, 11
The facts simply don’t fit your narrative.
*12 not 112
Perhaps laca hasn’t played as many minutes compared to Giroud?
We signed laca for what 50m? Don’t think we expected him to average similar goal totals.
In fact I have just checked the goal ratios of both players and they are identical. GIiroud scored 105 goals in 253 games. Lacazette has scored 65 goals in 156 matches. Ratio to both is 2.4. So in fact we are both wrong. However what it proves is that Lacazette was at least as good a signing as Giroud was, and with the extra skill factor maybe better.
You’re counting a lot of Chelsea games for Giroud where he only came on for a few minutes. Giroud in his 5 full seasons with Arsenal played 164 games, scored 69 goals & 23 assists (PL), which translates to 0.42 goals per game & 0.14 assists. Per season which is a valid way to look at it b/c a player can’t help us if he’s out injured, Giroud averaged 13.8 goals & 4.6 assists. Laca has played in 124 matches, scored 50 & assisted 18 which translates to 0.40 goals per match & 0.145 assists. Over a season he has… Read more »
I remember Giroud being sold to accommodate Aubameyang. He wasn’t sold because of Lacazette, so why the debate?
Yup. It was part of the Arsenal/Chelsea/Dortmund deal. Nothing to do with Laca. We sold Giroud so we could get Auba. Not sure too many people can complain about that.
I am pretty sure Arteta is thinking the same that’s why there is no live to renew his contract.
The problem is that we committed on Auba who should play upfront but whose skillset is mainly off the ball instead of linking triangles…
Giroud and Laca have played under vastly different circumstances. Giroud had time with a productive Ozil, Sanchez, Ramsey, Santi, prime Bellerin and the occasionally healthy Jack. He played on teams that created chances. Those players have been gone for awhile. From then until the kids showed who fed the strikers? Iwobi? Dani? The unproductive Ozil?
Try looking at the “data” in context.
God bless you @Arsenalnut
If you want to argue the standard of player slipped at Arsenal then fine. But Laca is very much part of that problem
Yeah I know it sounds crazy but, to a certain extent, I prefer him to Auba
Seems like the coming to an end of contracts really motivates the players and the signing of new contracts does the opposite.
I think we will sell in the summer. If you watch the post match press conference last night when asked about Lacca being vital to the youngsters moving fowards Arteta’s eyes gave the game away.
I reckon if Arteta could sell Auba instead and keep Lacca he would but chances of teams bidding for Auba this summer are VERY slim.
I’m delighted Lacazette is back in form and I hope he wins us something shiny before he leaves, but I think we have to sell this summer. He’s a fine player and he’d do well for many clubs across Europe (like Mkhi at Roma) but he’s not Champions League quality. I think this is a great opportunity to learn from our past mistakes and sell a player when his profile is still relatively high rather than refusing to roll the dice and letting him leave on a free in a year (or commiting yet more resources to a player into… Read more »
Only 1yr extensions for outfield players over 30 from now on
If he wants a second or third year, then make him earn it
If he’s not happy with our conditions, then let him walk
Sell or one year extension. Gets the best out of him for the next season
What should we do with Laca? It depends on who might be replacing him. If we want youngsters to come through, then the path must be cleared. If we don’t think they will be ready on time, then we need to keep him.
Glue is great, until you start sniffing it.
Or you decide to test out how super, superglue actually is
And you find out it’s really super, because you’re now stuck to your desk for the foreseeable future…
…or put it in your hair
No wonder sometimes he spills some and steps on it and can’t run
(Now that I said it he’s gonna make me eat my words with a hat-trick in the europa final)
Ok as a joke, but in reality he runs all game long.
Laca > Auba
Honest player Laca is
Laca shouldn’t stay beyond this year. How many times we have seen players play out of their skin in the last year when their contract is up. I still remember ozil starting tracking back and pressing before his contract was up! Auba performed way over arsenal quality last season! Willian!
This guy is decent but again he is playing good in the last year. He has been here for 4 years and this is the year where he may reach 15 goals a season! I mean C’mon, please learn!!
Having said that, Mikel favors experienced players so…
I think Laca’s contract situation is secondary to how we should assess his mental state in light of Arteta’s disturbing disclosure.
If he is using, say, superglue, then we should send him for help right away. That should solvent the immediate problem.
I see what you did.
Good performance by Lacazette. Sell him for a decent sum and get Aguero. Aguero will score for fun with our creative players around him.
We need someone better than Laca but unfortunately he is the about three best a mid table team can hope to get.