G’day everyone and welcome to the end of what has been a pretty exciting week from an Arsenal point of view. There’s only one place to start, so let’s get into it!
As we reported on Monday, the expected signing of Alexandre Lacazette was announced on Wednesday afternoon (UK time). An initial fee in the region of £46.5m with possible add-ons amounting to £52.6m means that the French striker has become Arsenal’s record signing, surpassing the £42.4m outlay for Mesut Ozil back in 2013.
Last season’s Ligue 1 second top scorer was pretty pumped to be joining up with his new team mates following his medical at the start of the week and provided some of his thoughts on the move to the official club website, saying;
“Arsenal are the club that plays the best football in England so I really wanted to come here.” Before adding,
“Throughout my childhood and thanks to Arsenal’s former striker Thierry Henry and other French players, I always dreamed of playing for this club so that dream has been fulfilled. I like clubs with a history and the fact that the manager has been here for a while shows that it is a stable club. There are quite a few French players at the club which will make it easy to settle in.”
The man who has reportedly had his eye on our new man since as far back as 10 years ago also had some nice things to say about the coup, stating;
“We are very happy to have Alexandre join our group. He has shown over a number of years that he can score goals and that he is a very efficient finisher.
“He has very interesting technical qualities and a strong character. So he is a guy who is a great addition for us, and someone who will help us challenge at the top-level this season.”
Following the UEFA imposed transfer ban on Atletico Madrid, where Lacazette had initially agreed terms, Arsenal moved swiftly to secure the 26 year olds services. With his arrival at pre-season training yesterday, we were also treated to the news that he is expected to travel with the squad to Sydney next week, as the club plays two games at ANZ stadium before moving on to more preseason fun in China.
The move should now allow Arsene and his team of highly skilled and well chuffed negotiators the time to focus on trimming down a rather hefty squad while also tying down deals to retain key players on long-term deals.
The addition of Lacazette is the second of the transfer window so far, following on from the signing of Bosnian Left Back, Sead Kolasinac.
Options at the front now look pretty handy and the addition of Lacazette to the mob only further enhances the likelihood of a departure from that area of the squad. With the likes of Alexis, Theo and Welbeck all offering something different in attack, we look well suited for the coming campaign.
Where this leaves the futures of Lucas Perez and Oli Giroud is still to be worked out, but it would seem to be highly unlikely that they would fancy staying on now that the club has made its record move for a fancy new striker. Reports throughout the week still strongly tie both players to moves away from the club with Giroud the subject of rumoured interest from West Ham and Everton. Perez meanwhile is attracting interest from the continent and Spain in particular, with Depor, Sevilla, Espanyol and Valencia all said to be keeping an ear to the ground ahead of any potential move for the 28-year-old.
Speaking of squad options, Arsene should now be of the mind to try to trim down his list ahead of the new season. The man himself spoke recently of his “very heavy” squad and with the latest additions to the lineup, will now be forced to make his mind up on the futures of some of his senior players. We all know that Alexis, Ozil and the Ox are coming into the final 12 months of their deals to keep them at the Emirates and if we had things our own way, we’d much prefer to keep them than see them pull on another teams jersey. I think in the case of Ozil, it’s more clear-cut that he will remain than the others. By the by though, players like Wilshere & Szczesny have returned from their loan spells and find themselves in a similar position. While no reports strongly link Jack with a move away there were early summer stories of interest from Juve for our Polish stopper, with a laughable fee of £4m quoted. Add to this the various stories linking David Ospina with an imminent departure and things become slightly more complicated.
There was even that report that stated Emi Martinez would become Cechs’ understudy for the coming season.
Kieran Gibbs is another whose future surely lies elsewhere after Nacho Monreal again dominated the Left-back position during the previous campaign, despite the relative fitness of the Englishman. Now, with the addition of Kolasinac, Gibbs must surely be on the move as he looks to get his career back on track. While we are on the defence, there are two at right-back who must surely be ushered on to pastures new before the window closes. I would hold a firm view that there will be no new arrivals until we trim some of the fat from the squad and also, possibly tie down those we mean to keep at the club. If we can get a definitive decision from Alexis and the Ox as to their intentions, then Arsene should find himself free to supplement the list according to what our needs are ahead of the first fixtures of the new season.
Right, just before we let you off to enjoy your the lead in to the weekend, you may have noticed the red circle on your calendar for this coming Thursday. Yes, that’s right, the Arsenal will finally be here to strut their stuff in Sydney as part of the much awaited Tour Down Under.
In anticipation of the massive interest from Arsenal fans across the country as to the events and activities planned for the visit, we will be recording a fresh podcast for you all with a special guest who can share all the relevant and important details you need to know to have the best time possible. Keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook for updates over the weekend and if you have any questions you want us to look into just reach out via any of the usual channels.
Have a good one!