Why Alexandre Lacazette Would Be a Good Signing for Europe's Top Clubs

Owen Morgan@@OwenHMorganContributor IApril 28, 2014

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Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette has been the subject of a lot of transfer speculation over the last few weeks.

The 22-year-old has gained many admirers during the course of the season for his performances, and with Europe's top clubs sniffing around him, he could be on his way out of the Stade de Gerland this summer.

At the start of this campaign, you could be forgiven for not recognising Lacazette. Now, though, the youngster is a household name, with 15 goals in the league so far this season, as well as three assists.

Having risen through the ranks at Lyon, progressing from the under-18 side to the first team, this campaign has seen Lacazette become one of Ligue 1's most promising talents.

What makes Lacazette such an exciting prospect for any potential buyers is that he has so many different facets to his game. He is not the biggest player, standing at only 5'9", but he has a winning combination of a low centre of gravity and excellent body strength.

His goal against Guingamp in November was a great example of this. Reacting quickly to a mistake in the Guigamp defence, he held off his marker to swivel and lash home from close range. 

Lacazette also possesses great pace and acceleration. His early season strike against Nice demonstrated his pace, as he burst away from the final defender, rounded the 'keeper and slotted into the empty net.

Lacazette's strength created the chance, too: He bullishly won the ball inside his own half to start the counter-attack.

Laurent Cipriani

Another aspect to Lacazette's game that makes him an attractive proposition to the biggest clubs in Europe is his technical ability. He is primarily right-footed but has found the net four times this season with his less-favoured left.

In addition, he has scored all manner of goals, finding the net from outside the box as well as from close range.

Two goals in particular stand out to demonstrate his superb technique. His volley in Lyon's derby defeat against Saint-Etienne was an accomplished first-time strike. Batafembi Gomis lofted a curling through ball over Les Verts defence and Lacazette, on the run, caught the ball full on the volley, smashing a controlled finish in at the near post. 

At the other end of the spectrum, but just as impressive, was his cleverly worked goal against Marseille in December. After controlling the ball inside a crowded six-yard box, Lacazette set up to shoot but instead dummied and dragged the ball on to his right foot.

The skill deceived both centre-back and 'keeper, and Lyon's No. 10 calmly finished into an empty net. It was a brilliant example of quick thinking and composure, two qualities that are so valuable for a top-level striker to possess.

Aside from his goals, Lacazette has a tremendous work-rate. He has played in every position across the front line for Lyon this season, and although he looks most comfortable in a central role, he is always a willing runner.

Indeed, his energy and determination have created goals for him this season; for example, against Toulouse, when his persistence in the tackle was rewarded when his fine low strike found the bottom corner of the net.

Lacazette has been the shining light in an otherwise disappointing season for Lyon. A late revival means they are still in with a chance of European football, but they will finish outside of the top three for the first time in more than 10 years. 

As such, Lacazette could well favour a move away from Lyon. He has been linked with big sides in Italy and England, and the promise of Champions League football may tempt him to leave the club he has been with since his youth.

If so, he will be sorely missed in the Rhone-Alpes region. His displays this season make him an inviting signing, and particularly if he performs at the World Cup, Lacazette could start next season at one of Europe's biggest sides.


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