Arsenal

Arsenal risk repeating Mesut Ozil mistake amid latest update on striker

Alexandre Lacazette was outstanding for the second game in a row on Friday night.
The Frenchman wore a hybrid nine-and-a-half role for the club, in which he was tasked with getting goalscorers Emile Smith Rowe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang into the game while also providing an attacking threat.

While he was not wearing the captain’s armband, he once again demonstrated his importance in the Arsenal dressing room, constantly encouraging his younger teammates, pressurising Craig Pawson, and standing up to Emi Martinez as the Argentine tried his usual bit of gamesmanship before Aubameyang’s penalty.
All of this suggests that Arsenal should immediately offer him a new deal, right? Not always, to be sure.

Firstly it should be said that Lacazette deserves immense credit for how he conducted himself given the uncertainty over his future.
It has been made pretty clear to him by Mikel Arteta that he is not he first choice centre forward at the Emirates, and with just months remaining on his deal it may have been understandable if he had switched off somewhat.

After all he’s being asked to play a role in a project that he will more than likely never get to truly experience the fruits of.
But a fire seems to have been lit under the Frenchman who looks more determined than ever. In the build up to the Villa game Arteta was keen to praise this professionalism.

First and foremost, Lacazette should be commended for how he handled himself in the face of doubt about his future.
Mikel Arteta has made it plain that he is not the first choice centre striker at the Emirates, and with just a few months left on his contract, it would have been natural if he had shut down.

After all, he’s being asked to participate in a project that he will almost certainly never see the rewards of.
However, a fire appears to have been ignited beneath the Frenchman, who now appears to be more motivated than ever. Arteta praised this professionalism in the build-up to the Villa game.

While it cannot be said that Mesut Ozil’s behavior always set the finest example for Arsenal’s younger players, the German’s contract dispute with the club is disturbingly similar to what is currently going on with Lacazette.

Ozil was in good form for Arsenal during the 2017/18 season, scoring five goals and providing seven assists in 20 appearances as he neared the end of his career.
The Gunners opted to grant their number 10 a big-money contract extension after seeing the best of what the German had to offer, and with Alexis Sanchez on his way to Manchester United.

In retrospect, however, this proved to be a mistake because the team was connected to a player whose performance plummeted after the deal.

While there is no indication that Lacazette would have the same public spat with Arsenal’s coaching staff as Ozil did, signing him to a long-term contract would expose Arsenal to the risk of being bound to a player they don’t want to keep in the long run.

At 30-years-of-age Lacazette will likely be looking for some security in his career and will angling for something longer term if possible.
The Gunners spent the summer recruiting a host of players aged 23 and under, so to offer their centre forward what he wants would surely be anathema to their policy.

That’s not to say he doesn’t have a role to play until the end of the season though, and while he’s still in North London Arteta should look to use him where possible.

Lacazette, who is 30 years old, will most likely be searching for some stability in his career and, if feasible, something longer term.
The Gunners spent the summer drafting a slew of players aged 23 and younger, so giving their star striker what he wants would be a direct violation of their policy.

That’s not to say he won’t have a role to play until the end of the season, and Arteta should aim to employ him as much as possible while he’s still in North London.