Arsenal: There Is Simply No Comparison Between Lacazette and Gabigol

TOULOUSE, FRANCE - APRIL 23: Alexandre Lacazette of Lyon reacts after scoring (2-1) during the French Ligue 1 match between Toulouse and Lyon at Stadium Municipal on April 23, 2016 in Toulouse, France. (Photo by Romain Perrocheau/Getty Images)
TOULOUSE, FRANCE - APRIL 23: Alexandre Lacazette of Lyon reacts after scoring (2-1) during the French Ligue 1 match between Toulouse and Lyon at Stadium Municipal on April 23, 2016 in Toulouse, France. (Photo by Romain Perrocheau/Getty Images) /

As Arsenal’s quest for a striker continues, two names that have surfaced are Alexandre Lacazette and Gabriel Barbosa. I am here to tell you that there is simply no competition between the two. 

It seems that Theo Walcott’s terrible season has done far more than simply cost Arsenal the title. It seems now that Gooners of all kinds have completely lost faith in pacey European forwards.

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So much so that the prospect of buying Gabriel Barbosa from Santos is actually getting more positive feedback than capturing Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon.

This is just ridiculous, honestly. Gabigol, as he is affectionately known, is a fine young player with a bright future I am sure. However, at this stage in his career he is simply not consistent enough to become Arsenal’s No. 1 striking option.

Furthermore, Arsenal fans have taken to calling Lacazette the “French Walcott”. Which is pathetic, boring, lazy and quite frankly, slightly offensive. Just because Lacazette is a black player with pace, that  does not make him in any way the same as the one dimensional Theo Walcott.

Walcott’s one great attribute is of course his pace. He is a mediocre finisher at best who can only really shoot with his right foot and his goals are usually very similar in nature. Walcott is not a physical player who can use his strength to get away from challenges. He rarely tracks back, but to be fair I did see him contribute more on the defensive end than I ever have before last season.

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In summation, Walcott is a good straight line attacker who can get you an odd goal. But that’s about it.

Unlike Theo Walcott, Alexandre Lacazette doesn’t need time and space to be useful. The powerful Frenchman makes time and finds space. He is a powerfully built hitman who can shrug off challenges with a drop of the shoulder.

If you take a look at his highlight reel (although that is of course not the best way to scout a player) you will see a forward who doesn’t shirk from opposition. Instead, he invites it. With incredible balance and phenomenal close control, Lacazette has the ability to unlock tightly packed defenses, something that Walcott showed he could not do for Arsenal last season.

If Lacazette should be compared to any current Arsenal player, it should be Alexis Sanchez and not Theo Walcott. The two share a tireless work rate, searing pace, stocky build and dazzling array of tricks.

arsenal, alexandre lacazette
(Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images) /

As we have seen in the past, Alexis and Ozil work best when they have a fluid point of attack to work with. To be fair to him, Walcott looked great against Manchester United and Leicester City, perhaps Arsenal’s two best performances of the season. Pace and intelligent movement off the ball is something that players like Ozil and Alexis thrive on. Lacazette will certainly bring that to Arsenal and much more versatility than Walcott has to offer.

However, this isn’t an article just to delineate between Walcott and Lacazette, but also put to rest any brewing rivalry between Gabigol supporters and Lacazette fans.

A quick statistical break down should absolutely end any talk about who is a better fit for Arsenal. When both forwards’ 2015/16 campaigns are compared you will quickly see that Gabigol is not ready for the jump to North London, but Lacazette is chomping at the bit for a chance with the Gunners.

Per Squawka, Lacazette mustered 21 goals, 40 key passes, 3 assists and created 43 chances in 34 appearances for Lyon last season. Gabigol put together 10 goals, 25 key passes, 4 assists and created 29 chances in 30 appearances for Santos in 2015/16.

Surprisingly the “New Neymar” didn’t outclass Lacazette when it comes to having the ball at his feet either. The Brazilian registered 30 take-ons at a success rate of 44.12%, while Lacazette notched 57 take-ons at a success rate of 55.88%. Lacazette also won 28 aerial duels at a success rate of 34.15% while Gabigol literally won just one aerial duel in 30 appearances.

Really? Do I even have to continue? No, but I will.

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Gabigol has gotten huge hype for his record of 54 goals in 148 appearances, but that figure is greatly inflated due to the fact that 32 of those goals have come outside of the Brazilian top flight. His figure of 22 goals in 78 appearances is far more telling.

Gooners have long bemoaned the disparity between Ligue 1 and the Premier League, but surely that gulf in class would be even greater when comparing the Brasileirao with the English top flight right?

The kicker in all this is that 19 year old Brazilian wouldn’t even come cheap. According to reports, the player has a £40m release clause, which is a huge amount of money for an unproven youngster from a South American league.

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Don’t get me wrong I think Gabigol has great potential. He may in fact be the next Neymar. But Arsenal don’t need him leading the line right now. If the exciting Brazilian could be grabbed for about half his reported release clause and played on the wing then it would make far more sense. But as it stands now, Alexandre Lacazette is head and shoulders above his Brazilian counterpart.