Having secured Champions League football next season, Liverpool are now aiming to finish the Premier League season as champions. But this hasn’t stopped the rumour mill from going into overdrive, and the latest player linked with a move to Anfield is Olympique Lyonnais striker Alexandre Lacazette, per the Daily Mail.
Despite boasting the Premier League’s most lethal strike duo in Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool have found their bench relatively thin this season, and 17-goal scorer Lacazette has apparently caught the attention of their scouts, as well as those of Arsenal, Everton, Newcastle United and Juventus.
With two high-profile moves for attacking midfielders Mohamed Salah and Yevhen Konoplyanka falling through in the January transfer window, manager Brendan Rodgers is reportedly still on the lookout for a quality forward.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons to Lacazette’s potential signing, assess his potential role at Anfield and evaluate whether he’d be a good pickup for Liverpool.
With his exciting dribbling and goal-scoring ability, it’s no surprise Lacazette, after a couple of strong seasons in the Lyon youth team, was promoted to their first-team squad at the age of 19, making his professional debut against Auxerre in May 2010.
Prior to his first-team exploits, however, Lacazette scored the winner for France in a 2-1 comeback win over Spain in the UEFA Under-19 championships, which then saw the young striker become a star for his country’s Under-20 and Under-21 national teams.
After making his breakthrough with the Lyon first team in the 2011-12 Ligue 1 season, scoring six goals in all competitions, he has now matured into an all-rounded striker spearheading the Lyon attack. Fifteen league goals and three assists in 31 starts this season shows his development over just a few short years.
Blessed with searing pace, impressive technique, a blistering long shot and a composed finish, Lacazette excels in one-on-one situations and regularly beats his man with a silky first touch and scintillating turn with shades of a certain No. 7 at Anfield.
His array of skills renders him a formidable option on the counterattack, while his pressing on opposition defenders also make him a nuisance to defend against and a valuable asset for any team set up to take the front foot in a match.
Liverpool’s potentially damaging 0-2 defeat to Chelsea at Anfield last Sunday renewed calls for a bigger presence in the penalty box, and at 5’9”, Lacazette doesn’t exactly provide the most dominant physical frame they might need.
His lack of experience at the highest level—he has only ever made two appearances for the France senior team—and with Lyon not the European force it was a few years back, he doesn’t represent the most experienced option in terms of the Champions League.
Finally, according to the Mirror, Lyon are reportedly in contract renewal talks with Lacazette. Given that his current deal runs out in 2016 and Lyon’s seeming reluctance to let go of their prized asset, Lacazette might not come cheap, which would be far from ideal for interested clubs.
Potential Role at Liverpool
With his pace, all-round ability and off-the-ball work rate, Lacazette seems to have all the tools required to succeed in Rodgers’ young and dynamic Liverpool team.
Having exhibited his potential on the Ligue 1 stage, he could be ready for a move toward a Liverpool side looking to challenge on all four fronts next season, after a campaign that has surprised many onlookers with their enterprising brand of attacking football.
Lacazette’s array of skills means he would be a perfect fit in Liverpool’s dominant style of play, while he would also flourish in their devastating counterattacks. His pressing from the front will likely impress Rodgers in his bid for a regular first-team place.
That he will be working with three quality forwards in Suarez, Sturridge and Raheem Sterling every week suggests his development curve will only continue going upward, and under Rodgers’ famed man-management skills, Lacazette may well find himself flourishing at Anfield.
With the Reds competing in four competitions next season, they need depth in reserve and rotation, and Lacazette would provide an impact from the bench and also do a more than effective job as a first-team starter.
It comes as no surprise a number of clubs around Europe are reportedly interested in Lacazette: His strengths are there for all to see, and he has the potential to become one of the continent’s leading forwards.
That he would add to almost any Premier League team is also a given considering his skill set and capabilities on the ball. His playing style would see him slot seamlessly into Rodgers’ Liverpool team.
So on paper, he would be an excellent choice for the Reds in the quest for an alternative forward option this summer.
Our main concern would thus be price—if Lyon refuse to do business for a reasonable price, Liverpool should look in the market for other viable squad options in their bid to build a rotatable forward line.
If Lacazette is available for a decent fee, however, Liverpool should strongly consider bringing him to Anfield. He might just surprise a few people.