What’s going to happen now with Alexandre Lacazette? It’s a nice conundrum to have and testament to how he’s turned around favour with the club and fans that it is now a valid question to be asked. Do we do all we can to keep him? Do we cash in? Should it be a long term reward for his form or a short term extension until we get a shiny new striker for the future?
Our French talisman is in the final year of his contract and could well leave at the very end of the season for free. It’s always gutting to lose a player on a free especially when you consider the heavy investment to get them into the club in the first place. More so when said player is in good form and clearly still offers value to the current team.
Back in 2017 Arsene Wenger, after a long chase finally acquired the striker from Lyon in a deal that was roughly around £46m and at the time looked to be an excellent coup even if deemed slightly over inflated due to Lyon’s hard bargaining. A prolific striker with a near 1 in 2 record at Lyon, it was hoped he would be the 30 goal a season powerhouse we had missed since Robin Van Persie left.
It’s fair to say it hasn’t quite worked out that way for him at Arsenal as the goal ratio lengthened whilst turning out for the Gunners but that isn’t to say the Frenchman has been a failure. Expectations may have been higher but he has always put in 100% when called upon and scored some very important goals along the way. His bromance with Aubamyang was a refreshing thing to behold with some amusing goal celebrations along the way.
Now at the age of 30 Lacazette has a decision to make, when players reach north of 30 they often tend to look at their next contract being the opportunity for one last big contract to see out the latter years of their career. Given his current form it will certainly give Mikel Arteta food for thought as he builds for the future, Is Lacazette part of that vision?
In this situation the player holds the cards and it is hard to call how it could all pan out. Lacazette hardly got a look in at the start of the season and you wouldn’t blame him for counting down the days until he sees out his contract. With his recent selection he has been putting in performances, getting goals and feeling wanted so could have a change of heart. I suppose it could come down to the type of contract that is put down on the table for him. Gunners Town put out a twitter poll earlier in the week asking if Lacazette should be offered a year’s extension before he can negotiate with other clubs from January.
It’s clear as day that once those last 6 months are reached you might as well start sending round the ‘Sorry you’re leaving’ card around the office because it would take an incredible turn around to secure a players services at that stage.
The poll was in favour of a one year’s extension, hardly a landslide but indicative enough the fans see value in keeping him on the short term. I struggle to see an outcome where Lacazette would take a one year extension over something more long term.
The over 30 one year contract deal was something that led to many premature exits from Arsene Wenger’s invincible squad and fast forward 15 odd years it still doesn’t have the lure now.
The two options the club would be considering now are to either cash in during the next window or offer a longer term contract. Two decisions that could divide the fan base:
- To lose Lacazette from the current squad could affect all harmony within the squad and put a dent into the progress and development achieved so far this season. We would need to find an able replacement that could offer a similar skill set and traits to replace what Lacazette offers. Eddie Nketiah in a similar position to the Frenchman and Folarin Balogun are waiting for their chance but lack the strengths of Lacazette’s game such as his strength and ability to bring others into play. Unless a readymade replacement comes in or the system is adapted to get the best out of the players we have I can’t see beyond it being a massive loss to the team in what is a make or break season for Mikel Arteta.
- To offer Lacazette a long term contract would allay some fears but at the same time could trigger some acrimony amongst the fans as they demand a newer, shinier model to take the club forward beyond this season. On one hand a longer contract may not definitively translate into Lacazette being a part of the longer term plan but more provides the club with an opportunity to cash in on the player and generate some funds for further recruitment. One thing it will do is remove the doubt for rest of season and allow the player, manager and rest of team to focus on other things on the pitch.
One worrying factor amongst all this is the allure of a club with unlimited funds like Newcastle to start sniffing around. Lacazette is the exact type of profile the club would want spearheading their evolution into a more serious club. Money won’t be a barrier so the opportunity for one final big payday and not need to relocate to Qatar is already a tempting proposition. Allan Saint-Maximin already has the potential to strike up an Aubamyang style bromance with him. The more I think about it the more tempting a move it seems for him.
It all comes down to how much Lacazette is wanted by the Arsenal and what they do to show it and additionally how wanted and appreciated does Lacazette feel on reflection over his time at the club? Football negotiations often reflect the highest risk card games; everybody has to make the move that best suits their own interests. When things are finely poised you just have to lay down your cards and hope your hand is the winning one.
Born a stone’s throw (and a 271 bus ride) away from Highbury. Arsenal is my life, I celebrate every win and I suffer every defeat, it’s all about taking the good with the bad. Writing and sharing about everything Arsenal certainly keeps me sane!