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Alexandre Lacazette: Arsenal's new 'fox in the box' with a dash of Bergkamp

Watch exactly why the Gunners have smashed their transfer record to bring Lyon goal machine Alexandre Lacazette to the Emirates Stadium for £52.7 million.

FOOTBALL 05/07/17 17:32
Alexandre Lacazette

Arsenal have smashed their transfer record to sign Alexandre Lacazette in a £52.7 million deal from Lyon.

The France hitman, who scored 37 goals in all competitions last season, completed his medical in London yesterday afternoon and has signed a five-year deal.

As Gunners fans eagerly await further news on their second summer capture, there is now one question firmly on their lips.

Is Lacazette the fabled ‘world-class striker’ they have desperately craved ever since Robin van Persie’s acrimonious departure to Manchester United?

Boss Arsene Wenger is famously reluctant to exceed his valuation of any player, so he must see something he likes in Lacazette to top the £42.5 million he paid Real Madrid for Mesut Ozil four years ago.

Here at BTSport.com, we’ve spent plenty of time watching Lacazette in our live Ligue 1, Champions League and Europa League coverage – and we tend to agree with Wenger’s assessment.

With that in mind, we decided to showcase some of his finest moments for Lyon and exactly what he will bring to Arsenal’s front line next term.

A dash of Bergkamp?

Lacazette is largely being characterised in the British media as the archetypal poacher - a kind of gold-plated tap-in merchant - but this only tells part of the story.

What Arsenal fans may not be aware of is the 26-year-old’s capacity for jaw-dropping moments of goalscoring finesse inside the penalty area.

Take this unbelievable strike from barely six weeks ago against Nice, for instance, which bears more than a passing resemblance to Dennis Bergkamp’s legendary one-man work of art against Newcastle in 2002:

This is not to say, of course, that Lacazette will surpass Bergkamp's feats in north London.

But the Dutchman – regarded by a large chunk of the Emirates faithful as the greatest player ever to pull on the red and white shirt – would also surely appreciate the technical genius involved in this exquisite Champions League goal against Zenit:

Fox outside the box?

For £52m, Lacazette will understandably be expected to prove his worth as Wenger's long sought-after 'fox in the box'.

But eat your heart out, Franny Jeffers… because he can also hammer them in from outside the box, too.

This absolute screamer in a Europa League quarter-final second leg against Roma in March immediately springs to mind.

Not sure about the Eric Cantona-style celebration, though!

So, the finishing…

Lacazette has scored 129 goals in 275 games since making his debut for Lyon in 2010 and considering roughly the first 70 of those appearances were spent playing on the wing, it’s a pretty impressive haul.

There’s also the small matter of the data that shows no striker who scored more than 20 goals in any of Europe’s top five leagues last term could better his conversion rate of 33.3%.

Indeed, Werder Bremen’s 15-goal Max Kruse (36.6%) is the only man who can claim to have been more efficient in front of goal.

Put simply, Lacazette keeps his head in the penalty area when others around him are losing theirs, as this superb take against Metz shows:

Dink about it

There’s a lot to be said for the dinked finish.

The delicacy of the touch, the seemingly slow-motion yet entirely inevitable dribbling of the ball into the open net, the despairing dive of a beaten keeper – all of these combine to make it one of football’s finest sights when executed correctly.

And while he can’t claim the copyright – a chap by the name of Lionel Messi might have something to say about that - Lacazette certainly has a decent line in this type of goal.

This delicious effort against Lyon's bitter rivals, St Etienne, perfectly illustrates the point (and what a turn to set the chance up):

Meanwhile, the sheer impudence and class of his penultimate touch in this goal against Guingamp is a joy to behold:

Solo stunners

So while Lacazette appears every inch a Premier League-class predator, Arsenal fans can also rejoice in the fact that he is not afraid to use his deceptive strength and acceleration to run at defenders.

And even if this is unlikely to be the type of strike he will produce week in, week out in England, the results have often been rather impressive when he has decided to take the proverbial bull by the horns:

Whack-a-zette!

Arsenal have suffered many criticisms in the late-Wenger era but one of the most prominent and recurring tropes is that they are a soft touch, prone to being cowed by physically superior opponents.

However, grizzled Premier League centre-halves should be warned: this is what will happen to them if they try to bully Lacazette next season!

In conclusion...

Despite Lacazette's arrival, the ongoing doubts over the futures of contract rebels Ozil and Alexis Sanchez will continue to cast a shadow over the rest of Arsenal's summer dealings.

However, Wenger should be commended for responding to calls to bring in a big-name striker early in the window, even if he lacks the star quality of previous targets such as Luis Suarez, Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema.

Lacazette will have plenty of time to settle in his new surroundings ahead of the 2017/18 campaign and could well hit the ground running.

It remains to be seen whether he will suitably fill Van Persie's boots, but Gunners fans will hope his arrival represents the first piece in the puzzle of ending their 13-year wait for the Premier League title.

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