Thursday, 6 July 2017

Arsenal Get Their Man

Transfers are rarely a thing of speed when Arsenal are involved and so it was with Alexandre Lacazette, but the announcement came on Wednesday evening and we welcomed our record purchase to the club. It looks like we finally managed to land the striker we have being missing since Robin van Persie done a bunk five years ago. Despite scoring so many goals last season Arsenal could have done so much more with the right man up front.

As good as Olivier Giroud might be I think Lacazette is a step up from him despite Giroud keeping him out of the French national team. To be fair to Lacazette it's actually Antoine Griezmann who is keeping him out of the French team as Giroud fulfills a different role for his country to the one Lacazette would attempt to fill. As good as Lacazette is I have no doubt we would have been even happier if Griezmann was on his way to us, but we have at least managed to get Lacazette as a result of Griezmann staying put at Atletico Madrid.

The story goes that they had lined Lacazette up to replace Griezmann if he left, but their transfer embargo meant they weren't prepared to let Griezmann go and we got Lacazette. Atletico's record in buying strikers has been pretty good and hopefully their judgement on Lacazette was spot on and Arsenal can reap the benefits. We haven't had a striker capable of netting 30 league goals in a season in five years, but we most certainly have one now.

The fee was somewhere north of the 40 something million we spent on Mesut Ozil and if the rumours are true we haven't finished yet. It looks like we're intent on increasing our attacking options, but it's difficult to know if that will work out with the futures of Ozil and Alexis Sanchez still up in the air. Hopefully the arrival of Lacazette will encourage Alexis to stay even if it's only to see out the final year of his contract.

It would be a huge mistake to sell Alexis to Manchester City, but there doesn't seem to be too many other clubs willing to meet our asking price or pay the wages he's looking to get. The reaction to selling our best player to a rival would be extremely negative and it would get the new season off on a note which could be difficult for the manager and the players to cope with. I know Alexis could go for nothing next summer, but that sounds more acceptable to me right now than selling him to City. I don't want him to go at all, but if it does happen it has to be to a club outside the Premier League.

I would like to see a team with both Alexis and Lacazette in it next season and see how they can combine to terrorise opposition defences. With Ozil behind them to pull the strings it should hopefully be a thing of beauty if it comes to pass. I would like to see Giroud stick around too as he proved to be pretty effective off the bench last season and he offers us a different way to play if things need changing. The arrival of Lacazette could see his exit though as he will be anxious to play as much as possible this season with the World Cup on the horizon.

We have certainly spent an awful lot of money in the last year and it might be time to recoup a little of that by selling some of the players who are surplus to requirements and getting their wages off the books too. The squad and team still need strengthening considering we finished a deserved fifth last season and it's time to invest some of what we have left in more defensive aspects of the team. The arrival of Sead Kolasinac on a free transfer was certainly a boost to our defensive options, but we still looks a little fragile at the back and in midfield to me.

Hopefully we can keep both Hector Bellerin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but a reserve right back could be needed as well as possibly another central defender and midfielder. We let in too many goals last season and even though the switch to five at the back improved things we still need to strengthen. I would love to see Wojciech Szczesny come back into the fold too as I think he's our next best option to Petr Cech if not even better than him. He looks like he might have matured a little in two years in Italy and he has certainly played well in that time.

At least we have brought two players who will improve the team in and in plenty of time too with the players just back for pre-season this week. How we fare next season will depend on how much more can be done with the squad between now and our season opener at home to Leicester on Friday August 11th. That's only five weeks from tomorrow and you will be amazed how quickly those five weeks will pass.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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