Research proves Lacazette would be a gamble for Wenger – Is it one worth taking?

A Gamble paying big money for Ligue 1 Track Record?

The article on Gunners Town earlier today from Danny Ryan got me thinking as I edited it. He is correct to promote the merits of giving due consideration to those strikers we have at the club, over the big names the media and fans will links us to. Welbeck, Walcott and Giroud have all scored in the Premiership, perhaps not as many as we would all like, but with a degree of consistency.

I was particularly interested in the two main names we are linked to that were both touched on in the article, Benzema and Lacazette, both French Internationals and both scoring well in 2014/15. It seems that despite interest from Wenger, Benzema will be staying at Madrid at least one more season. I guess they need him if the spoilt brat Ronaldo playing centrally as he has demanded does not work out. That leaves the current darling of French football and the top scorer in Ligue 1 Alexandre Lacazette as a potential target for Arsenal.

A Potential target for Wenger

Now from what I have seen of Lacazette looks a real talent.  I am not going to describe his attributes as you will have read them elsewhere and watched the videos etc. No this is a quick blog following some detailed research on some, nearly all, in fact of the top attacking talent that has arrived with some pomp and ceremony direct from the French Top Division in the Premiership era. I have done this for two reasons. Firstly to demonstrate the size of the jump from Ligue 1 to the Premiership, with is additional pressure and physicality. Secondly because I suspected that in doing the research it might reveal also just how successful Olivier Giroud has been as a French import.

I am not fudging this research at all. There are top players from very early in the Premiership that I could have included such as Eric Cantona or our own Sylvan Wiltord but there are equally further disasters I could have added. I have actually included all those I have based on one main criterion which is that the player in question was leaving Ligue 1 for the Premiership on the back of goal scoring success. All bar one as it happens also has received French International recognition before or at around the time of their move to England.

Player 1
All of these players as you can see were scoring regularly in Ligue 1 and for the most part failed spectacularly to do so in the Premiership. Djibril Cisse, whilst Thierry Henry was scoring 30 in Arsenal’s unbeaten season was scoring a goal every other game in topping the scoring chart in France, as he has done in 2001/2. When he came to Liverpool, his rate of scoring halved.

Laslandes - Ligue 1 Hotshot to Black Cat Flop

Laslandes – Ligue 1 Hotshot to Black Cat Flop

Lillian Laslandes was in to top two scorers in Ligue 1 in 4 successive seasons from 97 to 2000, sharing the plaudits with Wiltord and Trezeguet before moving to Sunderland to replace big Niall Quin. After no goals in 12 games he was never seen in the Red and White stripes again.

Multiple Golden Boot Winner  and 1998 World Cup winner, Stéphane Guivarc’h was announced as Newcastle’s big signing on the back of the tournament in France, much to the envy of other big clubs. He played 4 matches and was sold to Rangers

Jury is still out on one of Ligue 1’s finest at Swansea

Bafetimbi Gomis had scored over 100 Ligue 1 goals in 10 years at the top in France. He is a large physical athletic centre forward but it remains to be seen if he can now fully emerge from the shadow of the departed Bony at Swansea.

I have probably made my point well enough and that is that very serious consideration needs to be given to the ability of the player to make the transition from the top flight in France to the top flight in England. What is 100% certain is that there is no person better qualified that Arsene Wenger in conjunction with his trusty ally Gilles Grimandi, to make that assessment. In other positions in recent years they have got it right with Nasri and Koscileny but the physical aspects of being a sole striker need special attention. That is why is so admirable that they chose Olivier Giroud who along with Remy in the recent past is the only transfer  that has not seen his levels drop dramatically when moving to the Premiership.

Hugely successful transition where most have failed

As you can see emboldened in the table Giroud over his 3 seasons has seen his goals to games ratio drop marginally from 0.45 to 0.42. However in a season disrupted with a bad injury he scored 14 in 27 in the Premiership which is a ratio of 0.52, better than a goal every other game, which has often been cited as the level of a World Class finisher, strangely enough!

Arsene’s Man en France

Taking all of the above into account and making the logical assumption that Wenger is interested, having had Gilles watch Lacazette continuously, there is no one better to decide is the Lyon hit man can be one of the minority to step up on arrival to the PL.

Food for thought?

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7 Responses to Research proves Lacazette would be a gamble for Wenger – Is it one worth taking?

  1. ButtFlaps July 16, 2015 at 5:43 pm #

    LACCAZZETTI will be top top top in the Premium League. Giruod will always to be just top top.

  2. Ryan July 16, 2015 at 6:01 pm #

    Lazy logic regardless if it’s proven correct. Those other scorers (selected by the author and not all inclusive as mentioned by him) have little bearing on Alex’s success. What about high profile French scorers that went to other high leagues. Your point is valid there is a significant increase in difficulty but how well Alex does with this jump has no correlation with how well others have done.

    • Dave Seager July 16, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

      Other high leagues are not as relevant perhaps as they are lees physical and slower in the cases of both Spain and Italy. Germany may be similar and Pierre Aubaneyang has not reached his Ligue 1 stats there.

      Either way I did not at any point say Alex would not make it I was merely pointing out that most have not so serious consideration must be given. I also said we were well placed as a club to make it a success.

    • Ryan July 16, 2015 at 6:38 pm #

      There is always a risk bringing players to other teams especially from “lower” level leagues. My point is that how well Remy, Cantona, Pierre did have most no bearing on how well Alex would do.

      Look at Arsene’s record of bringing up talent (not just scorers). His track record although far from perfect is significantly better than what you posted and far more relevant to how well Alex could do if he was brought up.

      I dismiss anything that “statistically” implies something that isn’t a good correlation. Alex’s odds are much better than you imply, but yes it is a risk.

  3. athlon29 July 16, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

    Let me explain my point of view. Some Arsenal fans still believe that Wenger simply must sign a CF (Lacazette, or maybe Benzema) in order to be competitve in the fight for the Premiership title.
    However, our squad – especially on the midfield – is so congested that we should re-arrange the positions of our current players before adding new signings, which could ruin our cohesion. ATM I count with Theo as a centre forward and I’m sure he’ll play there more often in the coming season. One place on the right wing will be vacant and Jack and Ox can compete for this slot. In the deep-lying midfield Ramsey will play alongside Coquelin rotating with Santi.
    If we signed Benzema/Lacazette/another striker, Theo would remain on the right wing and at least 3 players would have to compete for one position an that would kill off Jack’s and Ox’s chances at the team.
    And to be honest, one can underestimate the quality of our striker-trio (or our quartet with Akpom). I firmly believe that we can compete for the title effectively with Theo, Olivier and Danny.

    • Dave Seager July 16, 2015 at 7:39 pm #

      I happen to agree mate which is part of the reason I write the article to follow up on the previous one on the site suggesting we have all we need.

  4. JGD July 16, 2015 at 11:35 pm #

    Nice article, and I pretty much agree with the bulk of it, especially considering the risks of a player like Lacazette not adapting to the PL, or at least not to the same standard as the performance level in Ligue 1. However, contrary to your point on Giroud, I would actually use him as a great example to illustrate the jump up in standard.

    During his final season at Mp, Giroud scored at a frequency of a goal every 152 minutes (L1). His first season in the PL he scored at a relatively poor rate of a goal eery 212 minutes, which is not a good performance for a striker by any measure, and a significant drop on his previous seasons performance. The subsequent season saw a little improvement at a goal eery 192 minutes. Its only last season where he has actually started performing at the top level, with a goal every 133 minutes, a dramatic improvement (also improved conversion rate).

    This all kind of supports your overall point regarding the step up in difficulty, and the question over whether performance in Ligue 1 can be predictive of performance in PL. Additionally, however, it also shows that even when a striker does manage to step up, that it may take a significant amount of time to do so, and is not the instant fix that many think.

    Personally, I’m not too bothered if we get another striker or not. What is a gamble is if Giroud can replicate last seaosn good performance, if Theo can be effective at leading the line in games against packed defenses (common occurrence for us!), and if Welbeck can just add the final ball to his skill set.

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