Scout report: Alexandre Lacazette – Prolific forward linked with PL move

Given the constant desire of top clubs to sign prolific strikers, players like Alexandre Lacazette don’t come around too often.

The 25-year-old French forward has continued to impress at Lyon in Ligue 1.

Arsenal have been heavily linked with him for a while and it seems like this summer he could actually be on the move.

So what would Arsenal get if they signed him?

Strengths

Among the striker’s strengths is his composure in-front of goal. Having netted 31 goals (all comps) this term thus far, his goal-scoring statistics are impressive to say the least.

In terms of his attack positioning, he always seems to be in the right areas at the right times. He doesn’t just score either, being able to create opportunities for team-mates with his tricky dribbling style means he’s a handful to isolate for sustained periods during matches.

Lyon’s French forward Alexandre Lacazette (R) vies with Roma’s Italian defender Federico Fazio (L) during the Europa League round of 16 first leg football match between Lyon (OL) and AS Roma on March 9, 2017, at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in Decines-Charpieu, near Lyon, southeastern France. (Picture source: Philippe Desmazes / AFP / Getty Images)

Lacazette is unafraid to try risky, probing passes and would be described as somewhat of a poacher, given most of his strikes are in-and-around the six-yard box. An envious knack for evading his marker allows him to convert chances with seeming ease at times. In addition to this, he is keen to avoid letting his head drop when mistakes are made – instead fuelling himself with encouragement to work harder out of possession.

His high attacking workrate is matched by his impressive defensive contribution, pressing from the front. He’s able to hold onto the ball well and link-up play across towards team-mates, making his presence felt even when not on the scoresheet.

Lacazette in action against AZ Alkmaar

Olympique Lyonnais’ forward Alexandre Lacazette (rear R) fights for the ball with AZ Alkmaar’s Dutch defender Derrick Luckassen (front R) during the UEFA Europa League football match between AZ Alkmaar and Olympique Lyonnais at the Afas Stadium in Alkmaar, on February 16, 2017. (Picture source: John Thys / AFP / Getty Images)

Passing and his overall awareness are both under-rated strengths to Lacazette’s game, meaning it’s unsurprising that many have called for him to make the inevitable upgrade sooner rather than later.

Weaknesses

Many critics have sniffed at the credibility of Lacazette’s impressive goalscoring record. Given the number of penalties he has converted this term (10), it’s understandable that some would question whether he’s overhyped or genuinely the real deal – especially if they haven’t watched him play regularly.

In the majority of Lacazette’s more ineffective performances this term, he has struggled due to a lack of service up-front.

In games where he isn’t heavily involved, or doesn’t have many touches on the ball during the match, he seems restricted and cannot play with the same freedom – especially if team-mates are being isolated or cannot risk an ambitious pass in different areas.

If he were to join the Premier League for instance, there would be increased scrutiny on his displays. As a result, it’s important that he avoids the tag of being a one-dimensional player, someone that can only play in one rigid system. Lacazette’s adaptability to different situations will naturally fluctuate but it’d be interesting to see how he handles playing in a team that isn’t specifically built around him like Lyon is.

Looking forward

Lyon have continued to benefit from Lacazette’s impressive presence within the final third. With that being said, the team as a whole have struggled for consistency domestically and it’s no surprise they are preparing to deal with possible departures for key men this summer.

Arsenal and Liverpool are just two of the clubs reportedly interested in his services, but he will not be a cheap acquisition. His market value continues to increase with every passing week and many have suggested he’ll cost between £45-60m to sign.

He turns 26 in late May and a calculated career step could help his prospects of breaking into the France side. With 10 appearances since his debut in 2013, it’s clear that he has further work to do if he’s to impress the French hierarchy.

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