Arsenal must not dawdle on Atletico Madrid interest in Alexandre Lacazette.
Alexandre Lacazette wouldn’t even be at Arsenal were it not for Atletico Madrid losing an appeal against their transfer ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
On the brink of signing the Frenchman from Lyon in the summer of 2017, it was Arsenal who pounced to secure his signature for a then club-record fee of £46.5m. The turnover took place in a matter of days and Atletico’s loss was Arsenal’s gain.
Ever since he put pen to paper at the age of 26, speculation surrounding a potential transfer to La Liga has remained present. Diego Simeone missed out on a target he was enamoured with, and his adoration has still not waned.
It was suggested that last summer Arsenal turned down a £30m bid from Roma for the 29-year-old, a fee that in hindsight appears foolish. Unless, of course, there was no time to secure a replacement, it still felt like an opportunity missed with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang moving centrally and two academy strikers waiting in the wings.
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What it means is that interest is still there for Lacazette, who has won over fans of late with a significant upturn in form. Nine goals in 21 outings this season, including four in his last four Premier League matches, has been pivotal to Arsenal’s recent unbeaten run.
His all-round displays are improved and the addition of Emile Smith Rowe providing midfield support tends to his own skill set. This is one of a variety of factors behind his good form, displays that while beneficial to Arsenal in the short-term, have to viewed as such in the long-term as well.
In the last 18 months of his deal at the club, if Mesut Ozil is anything to go by, then Arsenal can’t afford to be handing out new long-term contracts to players pushing the 30-mark. Of course, Aubameyang is a recent example, but as the captain and talisman who will be back among the goals once the right personnel come in, his case was an exception.
If Lacazette’s form continues for the rest of the season – even if it doesn’t – bids upwards of £20m mustn’t be dallied on. Receive offers of that ballpark and accept. No ifs, buts or maybes.