By the time you read this, the signing of Alexandre Lacazette may have been announced. The great and the good tell us it’s done and dusted with just photos, interviews and the minutiae of the deal to be resolved.
You can tell that it’s a signing which is very welcome; the enthusiasm for the transfer hasn’t dimmed, not on most people’s part, because Lacazette is the type of player we need. A mobile goalscorer; consistent for the last few seasons, someone to make Alexis think it’s less of a one-man mission to find the back of the net. As if.
Nigel Winterburn believes Lacazette may influence the Chilean
“I think it was obvious to Arsenal fans and to Arsene Wenger that one of those areas to strengthen is the centre forward position
“I am hoping Giroud will stay, I still feel he is valuable to the team as well. Arsenal know they need quality to help them challenge for the title
“I hope the Lacazette deal leaves [Sanchez] at the club. He can play on the left, up front or in the hole. Arsenal cannot afford to bring in Lacazette then two weeks later Sanchez leaves.
“I am hoping Wenger can persuade him to stay for another season, see what happens with the team then sign a new contract.”
The latest suggestion is that Alexis is seeing out the final year of his contract and then walking. Or staying, who knows what will happen twelve months down the line.
To the chagrin of many, Alexis next season puts incredible pressure on Wenger. Essentially, it’s a twelve month audition for the Frenchman. We’re told that he is the reason players sign. In this instance, he will be the reason the player leaves.
CAUGHT BY THE FUG
Let’s face the truth here. The only thing which will persuade Alexis to stay is a genuine title challenge and winning the Europa League. Take that last one to the bank; we have to win trophies and get back into the Champions League, even if it means an inevitable Round of Sixteen exit.
More importantly, Wenger must stimulate the winning attitude in all of the squad. Determination must be on the surface, not like an iceberg and hidden beneath the surface. Arsène has to instil belief in the squad and by extension Alexis, so there is no repeat of the spineless form which destroyed last season.
And if you think that is pandering to a ‘star’ player, so be it. This isn’t just about Alexis; half the squad seem to be out of contract next summer. You guarantee that the ones who renew will be those you’re not bothered about, hoping to steal a place in the starting line-up through departures.
Arsenal are on a cusp and we have one of two ways to go. Either address the weaknesses in the squad or we can drop into a Liverpool-esque fug. This was always the moment we were warned would come when Wenger departed; oh, how we would regret that event. Well, he hasn’t and this is where we are.
To be fair to the manager, he has started the process but it’s a question of whether he can see it through. The goalkeeping situation needs to be addressed, as do others. He’s got Özil with him and where’s the news on that contract. Put the German on the spot.
A Cunning Plan
Maybe he has, maybe it’s all with Hoss – he’s got to be known as ‘Hoss’ hasn’t he? – for final approval but drawing a line under the situation. He can’t plan a season without that knowledge. Did I say we were on the cusp? It feels like we can either go back to 2010 or move forward.
It’s a strange place for the club to be in some senses. Mainly a two-year renewal for Wenger. There’s no doubt it was a compromise but just as an economic cycle is 5 – 6 years, a squad cycle is 3 seasons. Two is just a decision being avoided. Unless Wenger gets lucky, from our position at the end of last season, the title is beyond us.
And then you look back to 1986/87 when we finished fourth and won a cup. The following season we ended sixth. Now I’m not normally one to succumb to hope…who am I kidding; I’m football supporter. I can handle the failure, it’s the hope which kills me.
No, we won’t win the league next season but a strong step forward? It’s eminently possible. Just the small matter of another signing or three, with quite few sales. On the subject of incomings, at the weekend there were reports of £31m bid for Thomas Lemar. No wonder Monaco binned it; this morning he’s worth £80m. BULLLLLLSHHHH….