This week, former Republic of Ireland international Tony Cascarino pointed out that Arsene Wenger doesn’t yet trust Alexandre Lacazette and it got me thinking: did the manager even want to sign him or was it just to appease the fans?
Lacazette has made eight Premier League appearances for Arsenal so far. However, the only match in which he’s played an entire 90 minutes was the Gunners’ opening 4-3 win over Leicester City at the Emirates.
The 26-year-old scored in the second minute so we assumed the season would continue in the same way.
Even though Laca’s goal against Stoke was ruled out, his movement had been good and we assumed we’d see him start for the Liverpool match.
He didn’t. Wenger claimed he’s going through an adaptation phase and needed to be introduced gradually. This is despite the France international actually having a pretty good start to his Premier League season all things considered.
It seems that Laca, despite scoring four goals, is still apparently ‘adapting’ to the Premier League as Wenger subbed him off for Olivier Giroud in the 68th minute against Watford. Minutes before the Hornets equalised through a penalty and then ended up winning 2-1.
While I concede that Wenger could genuinely be trying to introduce him gradually, why does Alvaro Morata not get the same treatment at Chelsea? He’s never played in the Premier League before yet look at him go! The 24-year-old’s scored seven goals and assisted two in nine appearances.
This leads me to believe that Wenger’s not benching Laca for any reason other than he wants to. It also makes me think that perhaps the boss only signed the former Lyon striker to appease the fans because we finished fifth last season.
Why else would you spend a club record of £52m on a player just to continually bench him?
Perhaps it’s because Laca is a poacher. His style of play doesn’t fall into Wenger’s philosophy of walking the ball into the net.
Imagine going from scoring 37 goals in 45 appearances for Lyon, finding the back of the net within two minutes at your new club, having a superb goal disallowed during your next match, getting subbed almost instantly and then getting dropped. It seems slightly insulting and I imagine Laca himself, given that he’s not suffered any injuries since moving to London, is probably a little confused.
Hopefully, Wenger’s telling the truth. He does see more of Laca in training than us so therefore you assume he can make a more informed decision. Maybe I’m being paranoid.
It would concern me greatly if the boss was just subbing the striker as a matter of principal because he didn’t really want to sign him in the first place. He’s too good a player to be wasted out of stubbornness.