Difficult decisions: Should Arsenal sell key duo to fund summer spending spree?
Here I take a look at whether Arsenal should sell Alexandre Lacazette or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to help fund a summer overhaul.
It has been extremely well reported that Arsenal have limited transfer funds this season. The reported sum is circa £40m which in a transfer window where Ayoze Perez has joined Leicester for £30m, it isn’t much money to improve a squad with.
Arsenal are in desperate need of a centre back, a centre midfielder and a winger. As well as these positions, they could also do with some back up full backs and another centre midfielder for good measure.
In an ideal world, the Arsenal hierarchy would move on the supposedly world class but highly unwanted Mesut Ozil, the defensive phenomenon that is Shokrdan Mustafi and number one stroller Granit Xhaka. However, for the same reasons Arsenal fans have grown to loathe these players, no clubs seems overly interested in signing them.
Some proportion of blame could be laid upon the Arsenal negotiating team as other clubs seem to shift unwanted players for impressive profits, but that debate is for another time.
As well as an unimpressive team of negotiators, the Arsenal owner, Stan Kronkeke has made it undoubtedly clear he won’t be investing his own money (why did anyone allow this man to become the majority stakeholder in the club?), therefore, the clubs only option to generate more money is to sell some assets.
Now in an Arsenal team that failed to qualify for the Champions League for the third season in a row, unsurprisingly the list of assets is low. Within the Arsenal squad the only two players who could genuinely drum up some much needed cash are Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang.
Others may argue Hector Bellerin and Lucas Torreria could generate some value, but the former is slightly irreplaceable as he is one of the only players that represents Arsenal and the latter only joined last summer and is still making a name for himself.
Lacazette joined Arsenal for around £50m in 2017. After being linked with the club for four seasons, then signing a deal with Atletico Madrid which fell through, Arsene Wenger finally decided the Lyon forward was ready for the Premier League.
In his first season, Lacazette was used surprisingly sparsely. With many believing Wenger wasn’t fully convinced with his new striker. These feelings were further exacerbated when Wenger used his last transfer window at the club to bring in another forward in Aubameyang.
Nevertheless, in 2018-19 Lacazette found his feet in English football. While he only scored 19 goals in all competitions, Arsenal fans found other reasons appreciate the French forward.
Lacazette is a workhorse who tirelessly chases down defenders and forces them into errors. He’s also more than just a number 9. Lacazette can receive the ball with his back to goal and use his team mates, or individual skill to produce a chance.
Certainly his finishing has to improve, but his overall game is probably the most effective within the Arsenal team. He brings a sense of fight and passion to the pitch and really plays for his wages. Unlike other players in the Arsenal squad, Lacazette could never be accused of not trying.
Considering this, the sale of Lacazette seems like a ridiculous idea to entertain. Aged 28, he is entering the prime of his career and Arsenal should look to enjoy the fruits of his labour.
However, if the club could generate £60m-£70m from his sale, could that money be used to invest in other areas of the attack?
Football, at its core, is a relatively simple game. Score more goals than the other team and your side wins. Therefore, if the aim is to win, and goals get wins, then a striker who scores them for fun is invaluable.
And that’s what Aubameyang does. Playing in a side that finished 5th, the Gabon striker managed to share the golden boot with Mo Salah and Sadio Mane with 22 goals.
However, while Aubameyang does manage to consistently get the ball in the back of the net. There’s an argument that he doesn’t truly fit in this Arsenal team. Deployed mainly on the wing, Pierre-Emerick isn’t able to play his ideal game and the team doesn’t revolve around supporting him.
Considering this, and the fact that he is already 30 years old, both the player and the club could see this as the final chance to sell the player and make a significant profit.
Signed for over £50m in a deal where I still can’t understand why Chelsea didn’t cut Arsenal out of. As Giroud moved to West London in order for Aubameyang to join Arsenal and Dortmund to sign Batshuayi, the striker has no doubt made a positive impact in North London.
Yet, while he scored 22 goals, he misses a lot of chances. Furthermore, his trademark tactic of running behind defenders to use his pace and slot the ball away is so rarely deployed by Arsenal. Instead, Aubameyang is left with goalmouth poachers and getting on the end of things. At the end of the day, they all count.
Overall, there’s no doubt the striker is a rare breed of top quality strikers. There aren’t many of his calibre playing in Europe and Arsenal are extremely fortunate to have him. And it’s due to these facts that Aubameyang might be more worthwhile to sell.
If the club could recoup £60m pounds and go and buy a top class winger and a commanding centre back. The team would be more balanced and potentially more effective next season.
However, goals win matches and could any board really justify selling their main goal threat on the gamble of a new signing and the rest of the existing squad picking up the slack?
Looking around at Iwobi, Ozil and Mkhitaryan, these three attacking threats produced a measly 17 goals in all competitions between. And with Danny Welbeck also leaving the club, can the remaining forwards really be relied upon if Aubameyang exits?
Overall, Arsenal can’t sell either Lacazette or Aubameyang. It’s a risk which is too great and while there’s a temptation to take the money, the board can’t be trusted to bring in the correct players. Even if they could, would these players be able to settle and make the much needed immediate impact required?
There’s too many unreliable factors at play and the wrong signings could see Arsenal slip even further down the Premier League table.
The best solution is for Arsenal to sign savvy. Bringing in young players for moderate prices with high potential. What would be perfect would be an excellent regarded scout with a fantastic track record for spotting and signing the next big thing. Someone like Sven Mislintat.
However, as Arsenal are run so well, they decided to let this man go so instead it’s down to head of football Raul Sanllehi, Vinai Venkatesham and Unai Emery to locate their targets and use their scarce resources wisely.
With only a month until the window shuts, do we trust these men to do what’s required? Well, remember they decided an injured Denis Suarez for £3.5m was a better singing than Youri Tielemans.
Arsenal should stick with what they have and be grateful for Lacazette and Aubameyang. Instead working on shifting some of the dead weight.
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