According to Daily Star, Arsenal are ready to offload Alexandre Lacazette. The Gunners are seemingly keen on tying Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang down to a new contract. As a result, they are willing to get rid of the “unhappy” Frenchman, who is now being linked with a £30 million move to Atletico Madrid. The transfer should enable Arsenal to fund the Aubameyang extension.
Should Arteta Overlook Lacazette’s Improvement?
Lacazette has suffered a steady decline in his game over the past couple of seasons, and it was evident for the most of the 2019/20 campaign as the striker found it difficult to find the back of the net. He often missed clear cut scoring opportunities or lacked the concentration in the final third.
However, Lacazette has been a different player since the restart. Although the Frenchman has still struggled to score consistently, his overall contributions have been far greater.
The 29-year-old has shown a hunger to win back possession for his team. His willingness to drop deep as well as his excellent positional sense have also allowed Aubameyang the freedom to move into a central role. It was evident throughout the final phase of the campaign but has been completely overlooked, not only due to Arsenal’s collective success but also because of Auba’s sensational scoring run.
Sacrificing Lacazette’s improved gameplay and his talent, therefore, is certainly a risk from Arteta’s part.
Eddie Nketiah Set For An Improved Role
Despite his qualities, there are some positives to take from Lacazette’s potential departure from Arsenal. One of them, in particular, revolves around the fortunes of Eddie Nketiah.
The youngster, who returned from his loan spell at Leeds United in January, has established himself to be a reliable first-team option for Arteta. Although he was largely used as a bit-part player by the Spaniard, it was certainly a lot for someone, who is still, by and large, a youth prospect.
Fortunately for him though, it is unlikely Arsenal will want to sign a replacement for their prized Frenchman, especially if Aubameyang ends up signing a contract extension. Hence, we can pretty much expect Nketiah to enjoy a more prominent role in the senior squad next season.
Life Without Lacazette
Lacazette’s potential departure could slightly minimise Arteta’s tactical possibilities as the Spaniard might sometimes be forced to deploy Aubameyang in a central role. As mentioned earlier, the work ethic, as well as the positional sense that the Frenchman brings to the table, will certainly be missed.
On the bright side of things, though, it could open up a host of opportunities for young players. Nketiah is already tipped for an improved role in the first-team while Gabriel Martinelli is also poised to return to full fitness by the start of next season. Both these players are expected to compete for the number nine role, with youth player Folarin Balogun also waiting on the wings.
These are exciting times for an Arsenal fan.
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