Arsenal are reportedly set to make an approach for Real Madrid’s Luka Jovic. The centre-forward can be a better version of Alexandre Lacazette.
Mikel Arteta has been noticeably hesitant to field Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the lone centre-forward in his 4-2-3-1 formation. Despite developing as a prolific centre-forward at Borussia Dortmund and performing well in the role under Unai Emery, Arsenal head coach Arteta ostensibly does not trust Aubameyang in that specific position.
It is a little speculationary to suggest why, given that Arteta has not discussed the tactics at length, even admitting that Aubameyang is playing on the left as a result of the current squad make-up. But it is quite clear that he prefers the more rounded skill set of Alexandre Lacazette in that position, the Frenchman offering a better option to hold up the play as a back-to-goal focal point for the attack to play off.
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However, while Lacazette is certainly a superior all-around centre-forward than Aubameyang, based on his performances this season, his leading the line does undermine Arsenal’s attacking potency. Aubameyang has still been tasked with scoring the majority of the goals. He has 17 Premier League strikes on the season. No other player has more than seven goals and only Lacazette, Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli are the non-defenders with more than two.
Realistically, Arteta needs a blend of Aubameyang and Olivier Giroud to lead the line in his system. Giroud was an elite playmaking centre-forward. His first touch was sublime, his little layoffs, flicks around the corner, and hold-up ability in the air were integral to the Gunners’ collective attacking play. However, he never scored more than 16 goals in a league campaign and went for long periods with netting a goal.
Lacazette is certainly a very capable striking option who is more valuable than many of his critics would have you believe, but his goalscoring is not an elite level and his performances have been poor this year. If Arsenal can cash in on a soon-to-be 29-year-old who will need a new contract soon and reinvest in a superior, younger option, it is an avenue they might be wise to explore. And unwanted striker Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic might just offer that exact possibility.
This week, Arsenal have been linked with a move for Madrid centre-forward. Arteta reportedly sees him as a centre-forward who can conduct the hold-up play that Lacazette does so brilliantly, while also scoring at a prolific rate.
His performances for Madrid have been few and far between, sitting behind Karim Benzema for much of the season, and there are suggestions that his attitude and character are a little concerning, but he has the precise set of tools to be a superior version of Lacazette.
Quick enough to burst into space but also possessing a frame and touch to hold off defenders, Jovic is superb with the ball at his feet. He likes to play first-time layoffs, he is a lovely passer, especially off his left side, and the last time he was a regular centre-forward, he scored 27 goals in the Bundesliga and Europa League. Oh, and he’s only 22.
It would be a risky move, it should be said. But there is reason to believe that Jovic can be the elite version of Lacazette that Arteta wants. And that might be well worth the investment.