Inter Milan have made Alexandre Lacazette their ‘top target’ for a January move, but they have to get rid of Alexis Sanchez, who has been told he can leave for free.
Alexandre Lacazette’s time as an Arsenal player is rapidly coming to a close.
Unless Arsenal can sell him in January, he will leave for free in the summer when his contract expires.
Inter Milan have been linked with a move for Lacazette for a while now but they need to shift Alexis first. The problem is Alexis’ wages, which preclude most other clubs from signing him, even though the Italians are happy to waive any sort of transfer fee to get rid of the forward.
I think it’s safe to say that things haven’t worked out for Alexis Sanchez ever since he threw a strop at Arsenal when he wasn’t allowed to join Manchester City on the last day of the window.
He was shipped off to Manchester United but things went so badly for him there, he was allowed to move for free to Inter Milan, just to get him off their wage books.
Now, the same thing is happening in Italy.
There was much gloating in Manchester when they signed Alexis from Arsenal, but the warning signs were already well established before he left London.
Alexis missed more games for United through injury in his first year at the club than he did when he was an Arsenal player, finishing his 18-month spell there with just five goals and nine assists in 45 games.
A far cry from the 80 goals and 45 assists he got with Arsenal in 166 appearances.
It was not radical at the time to suggest that a player, whose game relied so much on pace and power, had had his day and was on the inevitable post-30 slide.
Still, United chose to pay him £600kpw.
Players who score more than 20 league goals a season regularly are a very rare commodity and Alexis Sanchez has never been in that bracket.
His 24-league-goal, 30-goal-total season for Arsenal was the best he’s ever had as a professional.
The season after, he should have built on it.
Instead, he spent half the year sulking about not being allowed to move to Manchester City and not making the World Cup.
He switched off at Arsenal and hasn’t been able to restart himself since…
Alexandre Lacazette at Arsenal: Success or failure?
As I was doing some reading recently, I saw an article that claimed, “Lacazette has failed to impress during his time at the Emirates Stadium,” and I thought to myself, has he really?
I think it’s fair to say that Alexandre Lacazette has not turned into the uber-striker we all thought Arsenal were signing when they coughed up £47.7m for the forward in 2017, but can you really say that he has failed to impress during his time at Arsenal?
The real measure of a forward is, of course, in the goals that he scores (or assists he creates) and Lacazette has 67 goals, along with 29 assists in 174 games.
That works out as a goal or assist every 1.81 games.
To compare, at Lyon, Lacazette’s overall rate was 1.59, so better, but not by much.
At the same rate, Lacazette would have 108 goals and assists at Arsenal instead of the 96 he has now.
To compare, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s Arsenal rate is 1.39, but he also averages 79 minutes per game while Laca gets 65.
In terms of just goals, Lacazette has actually scored at a higher rate at Arsenal than he did at Lyon – 2.597 vs 2.131.
If his rate at Lyon justified Arsenal paying £47.7m for him, and he’s scored at a higher rate at Arsenal, it’s hard to see how you can make the argument that he has ‘failed to impress’.
Lacazette might have ‘failed to impress as much as I expected him to,’ but that’s a very different thing indeed.
Arsenal stopped from buying Tammy Abraham because they couldn’t sell Alexandre Lacazette
Arsenal did try to buy Tammy Abraham from Chelsea this summer but their inability to sell Alexandre Lacazette stopped them being able to complete a deal.
Tammy Abraham held off as long as he could, waiting for Arsenal to sign him.
In the end, Abraham signed for Roma on August 17, just three days after Lacazette’s agent denied rumours that he was talking to the Italians on behalf of his client.
Lacazette has just one year left on his contract and, given the state of global football finances, a move for free next summer will mean he will have more suitors able to match his wage request. It makes sense for him to stay, especially if there was no club appealing to him during the window that has just closed.
It could also explain why Arsenal had so much trouble trying to sell him.
The Frenchman is now 30, so his next move will be his last chance to fulfil any top-level ambitions he might have. Would Roma have helped him achieve any of those? It seems unlikely.
Regardless, Arsenal now find themselves in the position of having to sell Lacazette, if they can, in January, or watching £25.2m-worth of talent walk out the door for nothing next summer. Talent that will need to be replaced.
Arsenal could look internally, of course, but the fact they tried to buy Abraham suggests they aren’t going to.
Abraham currently has one goal and two assists in four games for Roma while Lacazette has one goal in two appearances so far this season.
Arsenal contracts – Alexandre Lacazette
Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal’s fourth most expensive player in the club’s history, is set to leave for free in the summer with Arsenal not even bothering to pretend they want to offer him a new deal.
To be fair, Lacazette has been linked with an Arsenal exit since he arrived from Lyon in 2017.
Value walking out the door if he leaves for free – £25.2m
Total value of players out of contact in 2022: £65.25m