Lacazette, Morata in unexpected showdown
LONDON: Had the close season panned out as initially expected, Alexandre Lacazette and Alvaro Morata would not be lining up for Arsenal and Chelsea in today’s Community Shield at Wembley. After 14 years at Lyon, Lacazette decided it was time to move on and was reported to have agreed to join up with his France team-mate Antoine Griezmann at Atletico Madrid.
However, Atletico then had a transfer ban upheld over the signing of foreign minors and with the Madrid club barred from registering new players until January 2018, Arsenal stepped in.
Arsenal’s fans have been crying out for a toprank striker ever since Robin van Persie was sold to Manchester United in 2012 and in Lacazette their wish appears to have been granted.
A dead-eyed finisher, the 26-year-old was the top-scoring Frenchman in each of the last three Ligue 1 seasons and left Lyon having scored 113 goals in his last four campaigns. He cost Arsenal an initial fee of £46.5 million ($60.6 million, 51.6 million euros), making him both Arsenal’s biggest ever signing and Lyon’s biggest ever sale. Lacazette will form a potentially devastating attacking trident with Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, but manager Arsene Wenger has warned that he will need time to find his feet in north London.
“Sometimes it takes a few months, sometimes it takes very little time,” Wenger said. “The only thing I must say with Lacazette is that week after week, he looks to adapt quickly. But overall I think it will take him one or two months.” Morata’s move to England was no surprise, but the Spain international had been earmarked for a move to Manchester United. Instead, United hijacked Chelsea’s attempt to bring Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge and the champions switched their attentions to Morata. The 24-year-old cost