Multiple sources say that Alexandre Lacazette will leave Arsenal later this month and go back to Lyon for free. This will end his five-year stay at Arsenal. The move doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to the club this season; it was clear that they were going to split up this summer. A year or so ago, Mikel Arteta and Arsenal made vague noises about extending the striker’s contract. However, those talks didn’t lead to anything and talk about keeping him in North London almost stopped.
I don’t think the move will happen until his contract with Arsenal runs out on June 30. But for all practical purposes, this is a done deal.
Lacazette joined the Gunners from Lyon in the summer of 2017 for £46.5 million, which was a club record at the time. He played 206 games for Arsenal and scored 71 goals and set up more than 30 others. He leaves the club after helping the Gunners get back into Europe for next season and with the 2020 FA Cup.
From a roster point of view, there isn’t much to say about Lacazette’s leaving. It had to happen. It was the best thing to do. Arsenal is rebuilding with the help of a group of young players. Lacazette is not young, and it shows on the field. He has lost a step or two, which has limited his contributions and range. Mikel Arteta’s system needs a striker who can shield a lot of ground, make connections, and score goals. At this point, Lacazette can only do one of those three things at a time. On top of that, it was very hard for him to score from open play.
Arsenal won’t get anything for Lacazette, which is annoying because he’s still worth something. If the contract talks hadn’t broken down and he still had time left on his deal, the Gunners probably could have gotten between £10M and £20M for him. Oh well. More and more players are letting their contracts run out so they can move on free transfers. Alex Lacazette should also be on that list.
Lacazette’s then-record transfer fee never quite lived up to the hype and expectations. He scored some important goals, and everyone at the club seemed to really like him. He was a great leader, worked hard, and set a good example for the younger players. But it still wasn’t enough. He didn’t become the star player and center of attention that you’d want and expect a player who cost that much to join Arsenal to be.
Some of that is also not his fault. Even though Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette were friends off the field, it was hard for them to play well together and create synergy on the pitch. They both felt bad when they played together instead of bringing out the best in each other.
Changes at the club also made it hard for Lacazette to do his job. He played for three different managers and with a bunch of different people. Some of the XIs he was in were really bad. Some were also pretty good. No matter what, it always seemed like Arsenal weren’t getting what they needed from the striker position when he was in charge. The results are clear. Alexandre Lacazette was one of the two main attackers during one of the worst five-year stretches in club history and probably the worst in the Premier League era.