Arsenal are increasingly confident of signing Alexandre Lacazette. If they sign Thomas Lemar as well, then that may make up for missing out on Kylian Mbappe.
As the summer transfer window continues to progress, one thing is becomingly increasingly clear: Arsene Wenger wants to bolster his attacking troops. After lacking a starring, leading striker who boasts the consistent goal threat that is required to inspire a sustained title challenge since the departure of Robin van Persie in 2012, Arsenal have been forced to rely on a myriad of different players chipping in with their fair share of goals.
While it is never a detrimental thing to have a number of players capable of scoring goals on a regular basis, the Premier League champions since van Persie’s departure have all possessed one striker who dominates their goalscoring. As such, Arsenal have continually fallen off the title pace, and last season suffered the humiliation of slipping out the top four for the first time in Wenger’s tenure.
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So Wenger wants a new striker. Initially, it was thought that that player was Kylian Mbappe. The 18-year-old sensation was the subject of an £87 million offer from the Gunners earlier in the window and is still the apple of Wenger’s eye. However, as time has passed and realism has set in, such a deal seems to be increasingly unlikely.
Alternatives were found, though, with fellow Frenchman Alexandre Lacazette emerging as the most prominent replacement. The Lyon striker attracted attention from Arsenal last summer, has continued to display a remarkable goalscoring rate, both domestically and in Europe, for a number of seasons, and is now finds himself at the heart of negotiations between Lyon and Arsenal regarding a possible transfer.
However, while he is a striker capable of leading the Arsenal line with pace and panache, he is not the generational talent that Mbappe is. There is a definite step-down from one to the other. If it was a straight choice between Mbappe and Lacazette, there is only one winner.
But Lacazette is rumoured to be half the price of Mbappe, potentially less than £50 million. If true, that would free up funds for other options, with Mbappe’s teammate Thomas Lemar touted as a possible name.
Lemar is a direct, pacy, creative winger, with a vicious left foot. He has a wonderful delivery from set-pieces, glides past players in open play and boasts the intelligence and decision making skills to create chances for teammates in the final third.
While Mbappe is clearly the best player of the French trio that Wenger is pursuing and would be the one name that most fans would want to see in North London next season, if signing Lacazette as an alternative leads to the potential addition of Lemar also, it may not be all that bad to spurn Mbappe.