Wednesday 13 December 2017

How will Arsene Wenger use Alexandre Lacazette at Arsenal next season?

We take a closer look at the Frenchman and how he'd fit into our predicted starting XI

Alexandre Lacazette of Lyon during the UEFA Europa League, semi final second leg match between Olympique Lyonnais (OL) and Ajax Amsterdam at Parc OL on May 11, 2017 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Alexandre Lacazette of Lyon during the UEFA Europa League, semi final second leg match between Olympique Lyonnais (OL) and Ajax Amsterdam at Parc OL on May 11, 2017 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Samuel Lovett

Alexandre Lacazette, a player Arsenal have been chasing for two years now, is on the verge of a £52m move to north London in a deal that will bring a sigh of relief to all involved at the club.

Industrious, intelligent and a proven finisher, Lacazette is the instinctive centre-forward that Arsenal have longed for ever since the departure of Robin van Persie in 2012.

Olivier Giroud has served Arsenal well during his time at the Emirates but has ultimately failed to bring that clinical, consistent edge which RVP offered.

With Lacazette, Arsene Wenger has a player who can fill that void.

The Frenchman’s industry and doggedness is the perfect tonic to the lethargy that, over the years, has seemingly crept into Arsenal’s front-line.

As such, expect a central-based, solo forward role for the 26-year-old who will be able to energise Arsenal’s attack and keep opponents’ defenders occupied with his hard running and incessant harrying of the ball.

Alternatively, in a 4-3-3 formation Lacazette could be utilised freely across the front line having spent his younger days as winger. More than just a penalty-box striker, the Frenchman would bring a degree of fluidity and variety to Arsenal’s attack.

Lacazette’s wide palette means he would be able to adapt easily to working with the more direct Danny Welbeck and even compatriot Olivier Giroud - should he stay.

He has the pace to keep up with the club’s quicker players, but the clarity of thought to take a step back and wait for the chance to come.

Then there’s the matter of Mesut Ozil. Lacazette’s success at the Emirates will likely rest on his relationship with the German - and not just in terms of relying on the midfielder’s supply line of passes. There is no mystery over how Lacazette and Lyon’s Nabil Fekir, a left-footer with a hint of Özil about him, hit it off so well at the Ligue 1 club.

If Wenger can encourage Ozil and the French forward to work closely within each other’s orbits, then there's no reason Arsenal can't become a formidable attacking force next season.

So how could Arsenal line up with Lacazette in the starting XI?

(© Independent News Service)

GK: Petr Cech

Cech may have been dropped for the FA Cup final, but the experienced shot-stopper is unlikely to lose his Premier League place anytime soon. The goalkeeper will turn 36 next season and yet he remains one of Arsenal’s best players.

WB: Hector Bellerin

Struggled for form towards the end of last season but still one of the best full-backs in the country. Offers pace and power down the wing.

CB: Shkodran Mustafi

The German defender enjoyed a solid debut campaign in English football, making 37 appearances in all competitions for the club. Still only 25 and will improve next season, with a year of English football already under his belt.

CB: Rob Holding

After impressing with his maturity and composure in a back-three last season, there's every chance Arsene Wenger could place his faith in the youngster once again for the new campaign.

CB: Laurent Koscielny

His poor discipline cost Arsenal in a couple of vital games, but he remains an important, influential player. There have been rumours Marseille have made Koscielny their top transfer target this summer, but it is highly unlikely Arsenal will sell.

WB: Sead Kolasinac

Arsenal’s first signing of the summer. A versatile 23-year-old defender, Kolasinac plays predominantly at left-back but expect Wenger to have him push on.

CDM: Granit Xhaka

Attracted a lot of criticism for his displays last season, but grew in confidence throughout the campaign and has the talent to become a vital player for Arsenal over the coming seasons. A superb distributor of the ball.

CM: Santi Cazorla

One of Arsenal's most technically-gifted players and the glue that keeps the side's midfield together. Doubts over his fitness and whether he's got another season left in him, but should he be firing on all cylinders Wenger will want to make full use of him.

LCM: Mesut Ozil

Still negotiating a contract extension with the club. His performance levels dipped alarmingly last season, but when he is in form, he remains one of the finest passers of the ball in the world.

RCM: Riyad Mahrez

Mahrez recently announced his intentions to leave Leicester this summer and Wenger refused to rule out a move for the Premier League champion. Mahrez would bring real flair to Arsenal's side, as well as the ability to make something out of nothing.

CF: Alexandre Lacazette

The instinctive centre-forward that Arsenal have longed for ever since RVP's departure. Industrious and physical, he'd bring a tough edge to Arsenal's front line.

(© Independent News Service)

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