Arsenal seem to be in the discussion for every blue chip player available around the globe. However, it’s Kylian Mbappe and Alexandre Lacazette that lead the pack of forwards Arsène Wenger is desperate to bring to North London this summer. While most don’t believe Arsenal have the coinpurse to persuade Mbappe, Lacazette is a different story, and one that seems to be of the non-fiction variety.
Alexandre has been taking a page out of Dimitri Payet’s turncoat playbook when, towards the end of last season, he began to vocalize his desire to go play against England’s elite. The links between Lacazette and Arsenal have lasted longer than Alvaro Arbeloa’s West Ham career. The £49m signing is expected to be sealed shortly, which could spell the end of Olivier Giroud’s Arsenal career.
So everyone thought. A few days ago, Arsene Wenger told the associated press:
“It has been a frustrating season for him because he has not played a lot. And when he has played well, he has not always played the next match. He has won us a lot of points when he has come on because he has scored lots of times. He has qualities that our team need.”
Serious question: Do you think Olivier Giroud was lied to or not aware of what his role on the team would be when he signed a contract extension with Arsenal just this January? Of course he did! If Lacazette makes his way to London, why would anything change for the 30 year old forward? There are three scenarios that could see Giroud off.
Like Payet, maybe Giroud is just ready to bring his family home. He’s 30 years old and has been a Londoner since 2012, after an entire career on French soil. In addition to West Ham United, Marseille and a number of Ligue 1 clubs are interested in bringing him home. If £20m truly is the asking price, there will be quite a few suitors waiting in the wings.
There’s literally nowhere to sit. If Theo Walcott, Lucas Perez (not for long), Danny Welbeck, and Alex Iwobi all remain on the squad - there’s a lot of competition for play time. Also let’s not forget, while he certainly might have one foot out the door, Alexis Sanchez still dons the red and white. At 30, Arsene might be looking to one of the younger players to take a larger role next season. I’m not a big fan of this theory for two reasons. First, with the amount of matches to be played in today’s game (FA, Europe, EFL, EPL...) you need that depth. Second, few of those players can come close to Giroud when he’s on his game, and he’s the only true center forward.
Playtime Tipping Point
Perhaps when Giroud signed his extension in January, there was some kind of miscommunication as to how much playtime he would actually see. Olivier may just want a larger role at a club as he gets closer to the ever-approaching retirement tunnel. He’ll be facing 31 in September and as Arsenal strengthens their armory, the old Gunner might be deployed less and less. When asked about joining a Ligue One side, Olivier said:
“I am not insensitive to the approaches of the French clubs, especially Marseille.
But my future is in the Premier League. I still have titles to win.”