Arsenal started the transfer window with such promise. The £30million addition of Granit Xhaka got the fans excited but since then it has all gone a little quiet.
The European Championships have had an obvious effect on transfer activity across the continent but with pre-season about to begin, Arsene Wenger needs to move fast and complete the rest of his squad, allowing them to train together ahead of the new season. One area that certainly needs immediate attention is up front.
There hasn’t been too much smoke around this area, until last night. The Sun, who don’t have the best track record, but also not the very worst, say that Arsene Wenger has held talks with Romelu Lukaku and Alexander Lacazette’s representatives.
Everton are publicly demanding around £65million for Lukaku, although The Sun say Everton may accept bids in excess of £40million if the player pushes for a move. Fresh Football have been told by a source close to Everton that this is not true, and the club will sell for nothing less than £65million. Although we would expect to be told that.
Lukaku is only 23 years old and if he were to realise his potential, £60million might actually not be too bad of a deal. The big issue here is his first touch, or lack of it. That really doesn’t suit Arsenal, a club that has an expectation from all its players to have advanced ball control skills. Theo Walcott’s lack of this and subsequent failure to impress highlights this.
Someone that is slightly better on that front is Alexandre Lacazette, the other striker that Wenger has held talks with, according to the report. Lacazette is also fairly young, 25, but his price tag is also high, with Lyon reportedly demanding around £45million for his services, that would make him Arsenal’s most expensive signing of all time – and does he warrant that accolade? I don’t think so. Lacazette would bring something different to the Arsenal squad, but can a man not capable of displacing Andre-Pierre Gignac, let alone Olivier Giroud, be valued so highly? He scored an impressive 21 league goals last season, but that was in Ligue 1 where the defenders aren’t the best.
Lacazette’s ability to play on either wing will also be exciting for Wenger, as it allows him to play alongside Giroud. The problem for Arsenal is they look like they will have to compete with Paris-Saint Germain for Lacazette’s signature, which means Lyon are likely to be able to raise the £45million they want. Although Lyon are desperate to sell abroad rather than to a Ligue 1 rival.
I think Lacazette is the most likely signing of the two, as he is more like Jamie Vardy, the striker Arsenal tried to sign earlier this summer. Time will tell but Arsenal fans are itching for a new number nine.