Mikel Arteta has hailed Alexandre Lacazette’s selflessness in Arsenal’s attack in comments that bear a striking resemblance to those made by Arsene Wenger in 2017.
The 28-year-old struggled for consistent game time under Freddie Ljungberg, but he has started all three of Arteta’s matches in charge, including the New Year’s Day win over Manchester United.
Although Lacazette has gone four games without a goal and managed just six from 17 appearances in all competitions this season, Arteta seems unconcerned due to the all-round performances.
Arteta’s comments echo those made by Wenger shortly after Lacazette’s arrival in 2017 in which he compared him to one-time Arsenal transfer target Luis Suarez.
Why is Lacazette so popular with managers? Five things to know…
- Alexandre Lacazette joined Arsenal in a £46.5m deal from Lyon in the summer of 2017, becoming the club’s record signing at the time.
- Arsene Wenger had missed out on Luis Suarez in 2013 after bidding £40m and £1 for the then Liverpool forward, a figure Arsenal believed would trigger his release clause.
- Lacazette was expected to be Arsenal’s main striker upon his arrival but six months later Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was bought from Borussia Dortmund.
- The Frenchman remains important, though, with Arteta stating after the 2-0 win against Manchester United: “He makes his team-mates better, that’s one of the biggest qualities.”
- Wenger compared Lacazette to Suarez in 2017, saying: “One of the qualities of Suarez is he manages to get the best out of people around him. He did that for Uruguay. He did that at Liverpool as well.”
“The goals will come for him”
Lacazette has endured a frustrating time of late and during Arteta’s opening three matches he has fired off seven shots without managing to score.
Discussing Lacazette’s performance on Wednesday, Arteta said: “He had the chances to put away. He has been really helpful in giving us a lot of options. He makes his team-mates better, that’s one of the biggest qualities.
“Normally every time he’s in front of goal he’s so clinical. I’m disappointed that he hasn’t been rewarded for all the work he’s done in the last three games, he could have scored three or four goals easily.
“The goals will come for him naturally because he’s a top finisher.”
Wenger’s previous comments on Lacazette
Shortly after securing Lacazette’s services in 2017, Wenger was quick to highlight comparisons between him and Suarez, who by that stage had spent three seasons at Barcelona upon leaving Liverpool.
Speaking about Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez, Wenger said: “Their co-operation looks promising because there is no reason why, the two are good goalscorers, the two are good finishers, the two are good passers, the two have good assists.
“I think that was the question we all had when Suarez went to Barcelona and they had already Neymar and Lionel Messi. I remember I had a conversation with Javier Mascherano before the season when Suarez moved over there.
“We both came to the conclusion if it works, it will be fantastic, but it can be as well a disaster because they can kill each other as well. But one of the qualities of Suarez is he manages to get the best out of people around him. He did that with Uruguay.
“He did that at Liverpool as well, you had Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling – they scored over 100 goals.
“That is a quality that is important and sometimes you cannot measure so much because you only look at the number of goals a guy has scored. But sometimes the way he can marry with people around him decides the quality of the team.”