The signing of Alexandre Lacazette is obviously a landmark one for Arsenal.
Lacazette is a star
The Gunners have been searching for a star at striker since Robin van Persie left for Manchester United. Yes, Giroud starts ahead of him for France. And yes, Alexis bagged a boat load of goals, but he is still more of a converted winger. Lacazette is a true striker, and of the same calibre as all except those that have won Ballon d’Ors.
Lacazette is not just a productive forward; he is a STAR. More than a player, he is a statement.
The signing of Lacazette and the price paid for him announce Arsenal’s return to the big league. Arsenal have just signed a striker that every big club wanted, and for a fee that only big clubs can pay. Gone are the days of bargain bin buys, hoping they turn out to be the diamond in the rough.
With Lacazette spearheading the attack and Özil and (hopefully) Alexis supporting him, the Gunners have a TRULY world class attack. Signing a world class striker fixes the final “hole” in Arsenal’s squad.
Which can only mean one thing…
No more excuses
No longer can fans or Arsene Wenger point to the squad and say, “we don’t have the players.” Gone are the days of “if the only had a defensive midfielder,” “what Arsenal really need is a top striker,” etc.
The squad is both complete and deep.
Assuming the club finds some courage and keeps Alexis and Hector, here is the projected starting 11:
- Alexandre Lacazette: 20+ goals four years running, 37 goals last season, French international
- Alexis Sanchez: Chile all time top scorer, 2 Copa America titles, 30 goals last season
- Mesut Özil: World Cup winner, 84 Germany caps
- Aaron Ramsey: led Wales to European Semifinals (WALES!)
- Granit Xhaka: Swiss captain
- Sead Kolasinac: 2016-2017 Bundesliga Team of the Season, Bosnia and Herzegovina international
- Rob Holding: 2015-2016 Bolton Player of the Season, England U21 international
- Laurent Koscielny: France international, 47 caps
- Shkodran Mustafi: World Cup winner
- Hector Bellerín: Spain international wanted desperately by Barcelona
- Petr Cech: Former Czech international, Champions League winner and multiple Premier League winner
If you exchanged the red and white of Arsenal for the colours of another top club in Europe, people would say there is no reason that team should not win their domestic title and at least be in the semifinals in Europe.
But because it is Arsenal, we are all just trying to get back into the top four.
The mentality MUST change.
This squad is good enough.
There are full fledged European internationals on the bench, for goodness’ sake.
The Arsenal team as currently constructed is good enough to win multiple trophies.
The only question is, will they?
Past failures hang over this club like a dark cloud.
For stretches, Arsenal have looked like world-beaters.
The only problem is, these stretches come either after they have put themselves out of the title race early in the season, or just before a late season collapse.
There is always the dreaded November that sees dropped points against teams the Gunners should handily beat. The same old demons haunt Arsenal.
The immense pressure from media and fans seem to weigh on the club as well. As soon as one result goes awry, public panic sets in.
It feels as though if they could finally break the ceiling and get that first Premier League title since The Invincibles, the dam would burst and the trophies would come flowing through as the squad lived up to its potential.
Three FA Cups in four season have been a massive pleasure to behold, but have not eased the pressure and burden that the players appear to be affected by.
They can say all they want that they do not read what is written and said about them, but Arsenal making the same mistakes year after year after year suggest otherwise.
Something is errant mentally in the dressing room, and it must be fixed if the Gunners are to rid the closet of skeletons.
The Wenger of the last few months seems a new Wenger.
He went to a system that turned the darkest season in recent memory into a trophy-winning one in the span of two months.
He showed his old self by snagging a Bundesliga Team of the Season member on a free, but then ditched his penny-pinching persona to buy one of the best players in the world.
Lacazette would start for any team in the world, except maybe Barcelona.
But he isn’t; he’s playing for Arsenal.
The same could be said about many other players in the starting 11.
With this new, flexible, tactically astute Wenger, the wave of optimism flowing through the club right now, it all seems a perfect storm.
Will Arsenal shrug off their weighty past?
Will the tactics and managerial strategy make sure the quality of results matches the quality of the players?
Will Alexis and Hector stay, so that these dreams can become reality?
It certainly will not be an easy task, but right now, Arsenal Football Club look up for it.