We’ve only gone and broken our transfer record on a striker! We’ve been wanting something like this for years, but now that it’s here there seems to be a bit of a strange, ungrateful, dissatisfied vibe going on around the fan base. Why though? I guess a few reasons. Sanchez is one. I think if all we end up doing in this window by way of attacking signings is getting Lacazette but selling Sanchez then the overall feeling from the fans would be a negative one. We wanted a top striker to play WITH Sanchez and Ozil, and if they both go then is it going to a case where we’re in the pub next season after Lacazette scores 15 goals and we say “Bruv imagine if those two had stayed too man.” I think that’s a legit concern, that basically however good Lacazette does, how good could he have done if he was playing with Ozil and Sanchez? Hey ho, all is not lost, they haven’t left yet and if you believe the reports coming out of Chile now then it sounds like Sanchez is staying. My gut still says he’ll leave but I really hope I’m wrong.
Any other reasons for this weird dissatisfaction that lingers? I think a lot of it is because Lacazette isn’t as big a name as some of the strikers that people would have linked £50m with over the past few years. The likes of Cavani, Benzema and Suarez were all bigger names at the time that we were linked with them. There’s a fair question though as to why that’s the case and whether it’s just that the French league isn’t rated as highly as some others. Lacazette has banged 20+ goals a season for a few seasons and his conversion rate is excellent. I was chatting to a Marseille fan today and he thinks we should be really happy with him. He says he’s the complete striker and his record speaks for itself. So why aren’t we excited?
Are Arsenal fans still thinking that this is such an Arsenal thing to do? One of those too little too late signings with a hint of desperation? Desperation may sound extreme but but there is a bit of a sense of it. Gilles Grimandi first watched Lacazette play under the instruction of Wenger when Lacazette was 16. That was 10 years ago. For 10 years, Arsene hasn’t thought we should sign him, and he’s opted for other strikers instead. Now, we’re breaking our transfer record for him. Isn’t that a bit weird? That you monitor a player for 10 years and when you finally try and sign him you break your transfer record? It’s not like he was at Real Madrid and didn’t want a step down to Arsenal. Over the last 10 years you’d have to say that overall Arsenal have been a bigger draw than Lyon so he would have come if we wanted him. Maybe Lacazette has shown some qualities this season that have convinced Wenger he’s gonna be our 30 goals a season guy that we’ve been desperate for? Or maybe, Sanchez and Ozil have put big pressure on Wenger to buy players and get them done quickly. Perhaps they told Arsenal that if they buy a top striker, they’ll stay. Let’s see.
I’m not convinced that any other attacking signing that we make is a positive indication that Sanchez and Ozil are staying. We’re reportedly deep in talks for Mahrez, but for me this has to be an indication that Sanchez and maybe Ozil are leaving. If we signed Mahrez and Lacazette, you can guarantee that they were signed with guarantees of first team football. So how does that work if we keep Ozil and Sanchez? The only way it would work is if we moved back to our old formation with four at the back. That would see Lacazette playing in front of a three of Sanchez, Ozil and Mahrez. If we play in our current formation, then all those four cannot start together. We play two central midfielders in the new formation with Ozil and Sanchez in front of them, with a striker in front of them (which would be Lacazette). So where does Mahrez fit in there exactly? If we did keep Ozil and Sanchez along with signing Mahrez, it would be serious big club big bollocks behaviour but I’m not sure that given we’re a Europa league side at the moment we can convince top players in their prime to join us and sit on the bench.
I think that all of the above means the Lacazette signing won’t get the same adulation and positivity that is normally associated when a club breaks their transfer record on a centre forward. However, depending on the futures of Ozil and Sanchez, all that good feeling might just get released when their futures become clearer. For the sake of being positive, let’s just focus on the fact that we’ve signed a top full back and a top striker in one transfer window. Let’s then focus on the fact that we’ve signed them both by the first week of July. This is pretty un-Arsenal, it’s pretty proactively awesome. Expect the rest of July to be really interesting, and let’s all continue to pray that Atom and Humber have a bone buried by one of the corner flags and refuse to be transferred elsewhere.