Paul Merson says Arsenal should have kept Olivier Giroud and sold Alexandre Lacazette instead, as the 31-year-old was the club’s only ‘plan B’.
On deadline day, Arsenal signed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and sold Olivier Giroud to Chelsea. According to David Ornstein from the BBC, the Gunners had to let someone leave, so the Blues would loan Batshuayi to Dortmund and set Aubameyang free. However, Merson says they should’ve sold Lacazette instead.
“I would have tried to get rid of Lacazette and kept Giroud,” the former Gunner explained to Sky Sports (via teamtalk.com). “They have no plan B now, it’s completely gone. If they’re losing a match, Giroud would come on and score goals. I find it shocking.”
I think Merson’s comments are completely misguided. Generally, I see people talk about Aubameyang’s finishing, pace and movement. Undoubtedly, he is very strong on all three.
The 28-year-old is also just as good in the air though. In 2016/17, Aubameyang scored more headed goals in the Bundesliga than any other player. This season, WhoScored.com list “headed attempts” as one of his strengths, statistically. He stands at around 6’2″ and has a strong physical presence.
Thanks to all the above attributes, Aubameyang is great on the counter and in the air. Meanwhile, Alexandre Lacazette doesn’t specialise at either of those things. He works best linking up with teammates and beating players one-on-one.
For me, Giroud and Aubameyang are far more similar than Aubameyang and Lacazette are. If the Gunners want to switch between two different styles, what they did made more sense than Merson’s plan.
Plus, Lacazette may not be scoring every game right now, but he’s still the club’s top scorer, not Giroud.
Arsenal need big game players like that. I think the club definitely made the right choice.