West Ham’s Giant-killing Deal For Ligue 1 Goalmachine Sends Shockwaves – Is He Worth The Fuss?

Lyon's French forward Alexandre Lacazette (C) vies with Dijon's French defender Yunis Abdelhamid (L) and Dijon's French midfielder Jordan Marie (R) during the French L1 football match between Dijon FCO and Olympique Lyonnais on August 27, 2016, at the Gaston Gerard stadium in Dijon, eastern France. / AFP / PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the story of David and Goliath. There are some kindred spirits who take that little tale as an instruction manual, and it seems to us, at The 4th Official, that Slaven Bilic is one of them. Arsenal would still be bitter about their opening loss at the Emirates last season at the hands of their modest neighbours was just the curtain-raiser as the London club went on to beat Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United later, the previous season. And it looks like, Bilic’s giant-killing act has no sign of relenting, as they look to punk Arsenal and bag their number one attacking target this season, wing-forward, 25-year-old, Alexandre Lacazette – despite a rebuffed bid of £42.7 million.

Following their successes off the field, with procuring the Olympic stadium, and then signing on Harvard Nordviet from Borussia Monchengladbach, Andre Ayew from Swansea, Gokhan Tore from Besiktas, and Sofiane Fehgouli from Valencia  – West Ham have let their appetite for European football grow bigger and more voracious (despite ironically failing to qualify for the second tier of the European competition).

A ridiculous amount to bid, and a more logic-defying bid to reject from Lyon President, Aulas to reject – ridiculousness all around, but you’d have to expect that the French outfit will come to see reason, even if West Ham do not. So, is the Frenchman really worth the fuss? Let’s find out.

Why Were Arsenal So Very Keen?

It’s rather apparent why Arsenal harboured a long-standing interest in Alex Lacazette – he’s essentially the typical Arsenal forward. Decisive, versatile enough to play across the front three, swift, a prancer in possession, tricky, and quick across the turf, with an eye for goal, capable of an emphatic finish with either foot and running the channels out wide. Lyon’s system of play gave Alex the license to roam and wreck havoc, to seek out chinks in the opponent’s armour and to pinpoint a passage of play that would exploit it as often as possible.

He’s quite a clever customer, using his determined running off the ball to make life doubly difficult for those tasked to mark him. A peripheral vision of what’s happening around him, makes him an ideal candidate for the one-twos, where his quickness off the mark, and his relative ease in forming an understanding with his team-mates, complements his technical attributes to perfection. His footballing education in the famed academy of Lyon has strived to arm young Lacazette with aforementioned traits.

What Will West Ham Fans Love About Him?

Lacazette, unlike many of the players who play the wing-forward position, is an outright terrier. Much like Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, Alex is tireless and shows due diligence when it will come pressing down opponent defenders and attackers alike. Ferociously competitive without the ball at his feet, he puts himself out and about to regain possession for his team.

Weaknesses

Lacazette doesn’t quite fare well being the focal point of an attacking system if he has to be the physical foil to any player. He’s much prefers being the one who plays around someone of more vertical stature, picking off scraps and second balls, and causing mayhem in the channels. Consequently, his physical strength can be a bit lacking with his back to goal, and is a bit of a wilting presence in the air. However, if Bilic uses him to his strengths, he might get a player’s player. Just the sort he relishes.

Eccentric writer, effervescent blagger. What he lacks in cheekbones, he makes up by being cheeky. The footballing Jack Sparrow pompously navigating the high-waves of journalism. 2015 International Football Blogging Award Finalist, the pin-up boy of The 4th Official.