Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette has left his options open this summer, with last season’s Ligue 1 top scorer suggesting a move away from France might damage prospects of a first-team spot when his country host Euro 2016 next year, while refusing to rule out a switch.
Les Gones’ owner Jean-Michel Aulas has also entertained a Lacazette transfer, if jokingly, suggesting a €50-60m (£35-42m) bid for the 24-year-old would be enough to do business.
The boys and girls at bwin.com have priced up Arsenal at 2/1 to be Lacazette’s new home by the start of September, with evens saying he stays at Lyon, 6/1 Liverpool, 8/1 Paris Saint-Germain and 9/1 bar.
With money seemingly meaningless in modern football, considering shot-shy forward Raheem Sterling’s £49m move from Liverpool to Manchester City, and injury-prone Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke’s impending £32.5m switch to Anfield, signing a player who bagged 27 times in the French top flight last term for somewhere in the middle may seem reasonable.
However, the history of Ligue 1 top scorers leaving for supposed greener pastures should be a warning to Gunners coach Arsene Wenger regarding overpaying.
The veteran French tactician won’t really need telling though, having been burned to the tune of £13m, a then-club record, for Sylvain Wiltord in 2000, 12 months after the Parisian bagged 22 Ligue 1 goals for Bordeaux.
He never managed more than ten per season in four Premier League campaigns.
Some would call 2011/12 Ligue 1 top scorer Olivier Giroud a success at Arsenal, although the 28-year-old’s best seasonal return in three Premier League terms so far was five shy of that 22-goal haul.
The elephant in the room regarding Giroud is: if he has been such a hit in north London, why are Arsenal contemplating a big-money move for a player in his position?
There have been some sterling translations of Ligue 1 form, including 2007/08 big cheese Karim Benzema, whose career-best campaign in front of goal came for Real Madrid three seasons later, while Sonny Anderson enjoyed success at Barcelona after topping the French charts in the 1990s.
Nevertheless, that pair don’t cancel out the negatives, which include fellow three-time Ligue 1 top scorer Stephane Guivarc’h (just ask Newcastle fans) and Liverpool flop Djibril Cisse, who might have made it as an Olympic sprinter but proved a poor striker.
If Lacazette could be bought for around £10m, as Giroud was, Arsenal would be laughing. Maybe even at twice the price, the eight-cap Les Bleus hitman would be worth a punt, but at circa £40m he shouldn’t be touched.