Arsenal: Alexandre Lacazette the realistic Kylian Mbappe
Arsenal have been heavily linked with moves for both Alexandre Lacazette and Kylian Mbappe this summer. While the latter is the more talented player, it may be realism that must take the day.
The need for a greater attacking impetus within the Arsenal squad is much needed. The options that Wenger has had available to him have begun to stagnate, with a lack of competition for first team places allowing them to sit in their comfort zones without ever being pushed or challenged.
Moreover, ever since the departure of Robin van Persie in 2012, they have toiled with Olivier Giroud as the starting centre-forward. And while Giroud brings a unique threat with his size, strength and aerial prowess that few in the Premier League are able to replicate, he is not the consistent goal scorer that is required to fire a team to a sustained title challenge.
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Additionally, he also restricts the potency of the Arsenal attack thanks to his immobility. The many technical, creative midfielders that the squad boasts excel when they are able to find pockets of space in between the lines, receive the ball on the half-turn, and look to prize open opportunities in the final third with probing, incisive passes. But that possibility is significantly diminished when playing with a striker whose movement is limited, rarely looking to stretch the pitch with runs in behind, looking for the ball to feet instead.
That is why Arsenal have been linked with a myriad of pacy centre-forwards in recent seasons. And this summer is like any other, with two names more prominent than any others. Those names are two strikers who have been simultaneously dismantling the defences of Ligue 1, showcasing a vicious turn of speed and ruthless streak in front of goal.
Both Alexandre Lacazette and Kylian Mbappe have been the subject of rather intense interest from the Gunners. Both fit the mould of an Arsene Wenger striker and both would provide the dynamism to the attack that has been painfully absent. However, while one is clearly the more exciting, enthralling prospect, of the two, there is a far more realistic avenue that should perhaps be prioritised.
Mbappe is the more naturally talented player. He is just 18 years of age, has showcased the ability to score heavily at the elite level and has plenty of time to continue developing. Lacazette, meanwhile, is now 26, and has already established a style and a reputation for himself. It is not that his accomplishments should be diminished or demeaned, but simply, he is not the prospect that Mbappe is.
However, for Arsenal, the priority is simple: sign a player who can successfully lead the line, firing them to a title challenge. Both Mbappe and Lacazette are capable of that. As such, perhaps it would be wise to pursue the more realistic of the two options, because missing out on both would be truly humiliating and haunting.