Com­mu­nity Shield: La­cazette, Mo­rata in un­ex­pected show­down

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS -

Lon­don, UK - Had the close sea­son panned out as ini­tially ex­pected, Alexan­dre La­cazette and Al­varo Mo­rata would not be lin­ing up for Arse­nal and Chelsea in Sun­day'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 top-rank 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 French League sea­sons and left Lyon hav­ing scored 113 goals in his last four cam­paigns.

He cost Arse­nal an ini­tial fee of US$60.6mn, 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 Chelsea

US$75.6mn and is due to take the place of Diego Costa, who - com­plet­ing the love tri­an­gle - is at log­ger­heads with the club over his de­sire to re­turn to Atletico.

Mo­rata has scored in a Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal, net­ting for Ju­ven­tus in their 2015 loss to Barcelona, but ar­rives af­ter a frus­trat­ing sea­son as a back-up player at Real Madrid.

But de­spite the striker's in­abil­ity to dis­lodge Karim Ben­zema from the Madrid start­ing XI, Chelsea man­ager Antonio Conte be­lieves he can reach the very top. "He is a young player and my task is to help him im­prove and ex­ploit his qual­ity," said the Ital­ian. "I know he has great qual­ity to be­come one of the best strik­ers in the world."

Sun­day's game, the tra­di­tional cur­tain-raiser to the English sea­son, is a re­peat of last sea­son's FA Cup fi­nal, which Arse­nal won 2-1.

Alexan­dre La­cazette

Al­varo Mo­rata

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