With just a few days left until the transfer window opens for English clubs, speculation is intensifying as to who will be arriving in the Premier League ahead of the 2017/18 campaign.
Among those currently in the frame, Lyon’s prolific striker Alexandre Lacazette is being widely tipped as the first big signing of the summer, with a number of top clubs being linked. With 28 goals in 30 league games last season, it’s a record that is certain to attract Premier League interest; however, there is a theory that the 26-year-old, a one-club man to date, has been in his comfort zone in an underachieving Ligue 1 outfit.
The obvious question, therefore, is whether Alexandre Lacazette is really worth the hype.
At the start of June 2017, Liverpool attracted the majority of links, with talks expected to get swiftly underway with the player’s agent. Elsewhere, Manchester United are also thought to be preparing a bid with Zlatan Ibrahimovic likely to leave the club.
The choice isn’t a simple one: Both teams are in the Champions League and that’s the one competition where Lacazette has yet to prove his worth.
Liverpool qualified for Europe’s elite trophy via the regular channels and as an infographic from online betting company Bet Way shows, the lucky red shirts could be a good fit for the player. The Merseyside club have won the trophy five times in red while United have taken the title on three occasions, twice in red and once in their change strip of all blue.
However, it will be current prospects plus, of course, money that will decide where Lacazette will be playing next season.
In terms of pure goalscoring, there are few strikers across Europe who would be more tempting to the top Premier League sides.
As noted by statistics site Who Scored, in total, Lacazette has 100 goals in 203 league games and the overall ratio of just under one every two matches has improved significantly in recent seasons.
In the 2012/13 campaign, the striker registered just three in 31 matches before notching 15 in 36 during the following season.
From 2014/15 onwards, he’s been devastating with 76 goals in 97 Ligue 1 games.
The criticism comes in Europe, where Lacazette has scored just 15 times in 47 matches across his entire career but stats show that there is more to his game.
In the 2016/17 domestic campaign, the 26-year old created 44 chances and produced a very healthy pass accuracy return of 78%. He brings fellow players into the game and that’s an all-round contribution that has alerted the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho amongst others.
Among the hottest strikers in Europe right now is Ajax teenager Kasper Dolberg, the 19-year-old who scored 23 goals in 47 matches as his club finished second in the Dutch Eredivisie.
Dolberg is raw and even less proven than Lacazette but he would also be cheaper and in a sense, less of a gamble. The Danish international is attracting Premier League interest and his all-round stats also compare quite favourably with a pass accuracy of 75% and 53% of duels won as opposed to Lacazette’s 44%.
Elsewhere, the chances of Antoine Griezmann crossing from La Liga to the Premier League became more remote after the transfer embargo on Atletico Madrid was upheld.
Despite all the interest, the Frenchman’s scoring record is subdued when compared to Lacazette’s and with 16 goals in 36 league matches last season, it could be argued that any question of hype should be directed towards Griezmann instead. Other relevant statistics between the two are identical with a 78% pass accuracy and 44% of duels won but in terms of pure goal scoring, Lacazette has a definite edge.
A year ago, Alexandre Lacazette was being linked with the claret and blue of West Ham United but another prolific campaign in France has taken the interest to the next level. There remains the question of whether he proves his worth in the bigger games and a record of one goal in 11 full internationals for France raises further question marks. However, any purchase of an overseas striker is a gamble to an extent.
Lacazette may well be playing in red for 2017/18; the question is whether Anfield or Old Trafford will provide a new home.