Alexandre Lacazette won the gong for Arsenal player of the year on Friday morning, a day after scoring two vital goals in his side’s 3-1 win over Valencia in their semi-final first leg.
“If the mark of an elite forward is to make the difference when their team needs it most, then take a quick glance at Laca’s campaign.”
A campaign in which he has scored 18 goals across all competitions, 11 of those goals giving his side the lead, stepping up to the mark when his manager needed him most and asserting himself as as an unarguable ‘elite’ striker.
He has proven he can score goals against the best, finding the net against Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea, while also providing assists against Manchester United both home and away.
Introducing our 2018/19 Player of the Season… Alex Lacazette!
Big congratulations, @LacazetteAlex
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) May 3, 2019
The term ‘elite striker’ is one which has haunted Arsenal fans since the departure of club hero Robin van Persie to rivals Manchester United in 2012. A deal which saw their talisman score 20 goals for United, allowing him to receive his first and only Premier League winners’ medal.
Since then, a succession of forwards have failed to make their mark for the Gunners, ultimately leaving them scrapping for a place in the top four and more often than not, reminiscing on the days of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Van Persie, all whom portrayed the ‘elite striker’ mantra, and brought with it silverware.
Now, with the arrival of Lacazette, Arsenal have finally found a player who can not only win them games, but can win them titles.
A European title is very much on the cards this season and if achieved, Arsenal could enter a spotlight in which they have previously been hidden from, announcing themselves on the biggest stage and reaping the rewards that come with it.
A higher calibre player will undoubtedly want to play alongside Lacazette and perform in the biggest competitions, giving his side leverage in the transfer market and finally being able to make that push for a domestic title which they have been starved of for the last 15 years.
Quel joueur Lacazette
— Antoine Griezmann (@AntoGriezmann) May 2, 2019
The partnership Lacazette has formed with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is formidable, with 43 goals between them in their maiden season together; truly one of the most potent duos in European football.
With admiration and respect, comes a desire and wish for what others have, meaning Arsenal will likely have to fend off a number of interested parties come the summer transfer window.
It has already been reported this week that Spanish giants Barcelona are looking to bolster their attacking options, and see Lacazette as an option to do just that. The lure of the Nou Camp would turn the head of any player, so it remains to be seen whether Emery can keep his star at the Emirates amid the speculation.
Should he stay put this summer and continue to perform the way he has done over the last two seasons, there is no reason as to why Arsenal’s ‘elite striker’ can’t propel Emery’s men into the realms of the ‘European elite’ in the near future.