Is Alexandre Lacazette going to play enough matches for Arsenal this season to warrant him staying on during the summer? Of course not, and in the club’s mind this situation wouldn’t have played out how it has.
Best case scenario was the Frenchman had a buyer willing to pay up early into the window to provide Arsenal with both the funding and the time to source a replacement. As the clock ticked down towards deadline day their window of opportunity narrowed and he stayed put.
The only satisfied party in this is probably Lacazette. And Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, of course.
Set to play out his final year as second fiddle to the captain, his minutes will be minimal and largely left to cup competitions, occasional late substitute appearances and in case of injury. He’s probably fairly content with the role that he’ll likely play against Burnley: there if required.
Arsenal could receive Alexandre Lacazette transfer bid from Juventus in January window – but Mikel Arteta might be able to afford letting him go
When he will be needed, however, is in January. As AFCON comes around and Mikel Arteta loses Aubameyang, Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny and Nicolas Pepe, it will be Lacazette to lead the line with Folarin Balogun as his backup.
Fans are somewhat resigned to letting the £52m arrival depart for nothing, even if it will leave a financial scar that may never heal. So when news comes out of Italy that Juventus have their sights on Lacazette, possibly in the January window, the prospect of some financial injection might excite.
Discounting Calcio Mercato being a very poor source and the likelihood of a side signing a player six months before they can get him for free being slim, the important aspect is Arsenal can ill-afford to let Lacazette go in the winter.
Would Juventus really make a move just over three months’ time instead of waiting? Probably not. Would any side want to make that call considering his big wages? Probably not either.
However if crisis strikes somewhere and a side are in desperate need of a centre-forward in January, Arsenal can only sanction a sale later into the window when Aubameyang returns from AFCON: depending how the season is at that stage, Martinelli and Balogun as striker options might not be enough for the Premier League in the manager’s eyes.
It’s a conundrum. One that has an air of ‘Arsenal have made their bed now they have to lay in it’.
Whether any side legitimately shows interest during the winter period and makes an offer for the 30-year-old or not remains to be seen, but given how the season will be panning out at that stage they may to rebuff any approaches simply down to squad depth and the difficulties of acquiring a replacement at that point in the year.
Movement in the striker department – Nketiah may leave, Flo may go on loan and Lacazette may possibly be on the move – isn’t out of the question, but might be more of a summer area to revisit.