Why Manchester United should pursue Alexandre Lacazette and not Antoine Griezmann
Alexandre Lacazette is a much smarter transfer option for Manchester United than Antoine Griezmann. Find out why.
Much has been deservedly made of Manchester United’s mediocre campaign so far this season, and not even the League Cup win a few weeks back has been enough to quieten the critics who continually find fresh evidence that the Red Devils just aren’t performing to the standards expected of them.
Sensational attacker Antoine Griezmann has continually been linked with the club in recent months, and with the summer transfer window opening in the not too distant future, the French attacker is once again the apparent target of choice for the Premier League club.
However, there is a better option on the table and it comes in the underrated figure of 25-year-old French striker, Alexandre Lacazette.
Take a look at our complete breakdown of why United should change tack and plump for Lacazette instead of being duped by another ill-advised purchase.
He will get goals, is on par with Aubameyang
In Ligue 1, Lacazette is one of the main men and is Olympique Lyonnais’ top scorer with 22 strikes to his name in 24 appearance – that’s more than twice as many successful strikes as Mario Balotelli and is just shy of the 27 netted so far by Edinson Cavani.
He has created 39 chances so far this term, the second-highest in his team. Moreover, he has three goals and an assist to his name on UEFA Europa League duty.
The signs are there that he is a reliably creative frontman, something that the 13-time PL champions would need to be sure of before putting pen to paper. The ideal way for them to get the best idea of his abilities will, obviously, be to monitor him closely as the season progresses to see whether or not he can maintain the excellent output he’s been showing up until now.
Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whom many are convinced is certain to challenge for the coveted FIFA Ballon d’Or in the near future, has scored the same number of league goals as Lacazette, so it would appear the French striker deserves a bit of revisionist labelling.
Instead of simply being described as a handy backup option, it’s clear that Lacazette has it in him to be a leading light for a very big club in one of the best leagues on the continent. He could even be a future world-beater if he’s given the chance on a bigger stage.
From the evidence he has presented to us all so far, it’s easy to imagine he’d have little trouble performing wherever he goes. Why not England? Why not United?
Lacazette deal would leave money for another purchase
With Atletico Madrid reportedly looking for around £90 million to let Griezmann go, United might opt to spend considerably less on Lacazette.
So far this term, Jose Mourinho’s side have seen many of their big-name signings, including Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan widely derided for their lack of contributions to anything even remotely resembling world class. Having spent an extravagant amount of money on the pair, it’s possible they have been stung by throwing so much cash without getting the title-winning models they wanted.
It might be a case of ‘fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me’ for the United board.
After all, Lacazette, according to Lyon club President Jean-Michel Aulas at least, is worth more than £40 million and would expect to fetch in an around £50 or £60 million on the open market, but that would still be a considerable amount lower than what Atletico are looking for.
Plus, there is also the logistics of it all. It’s arguable that Griezmann wouldn’t even work well in the United fold. As outlined by Goal.com’s Ronan Murphy recently, Kevin Gameiro has a much better minutes-per-goal ratio than his Colchoneros team-mate, but perhaps more pertinently, seeing Zlatan Ibrahimovic linking up with Griezmann would require too much adaptability. Then, there is also the issue that Ibra’s own future is up in the air with contract talks at an apparent standstill.
Which begs the question: would United just be better off going in for a like-for-like replacement in case Ibra leaves?
He is confident, can replace Ibra
Screamer from Lacazette! Celebration as cool as you like pic.twitter.com/nJ7Pa3g0pn— Oddschecker (@Oddschecker) March 9, 2017
Lacazette, in effect, would be the safer option. Although that hasn’t always been the United way down the years, often preferring to play brave, attacking football, it might be the wisest course of action to take. Should Ibra leave, Lacazette could simply fill his shoes. If the Swede stays, they could just as easily form a partnership together up front.
Pogba, Ibra and Griezmann might sound like a dream trio to rival that of Barcelona’s MNS, but the reality of it would mean one of them would need to be sacrificed or at the very least, one of their game’s would suffer as a result.
Griezmann can thrive alongside a conventional No. 9. But then again, Ibra is not what many would define as 'conventional’. Plus, the towering forward is not exactly a knock down assist sort of attacker, he’s more of a chest and volley into the net before wheeling away in arrogant celebration kind of guy, so the Ibra-Griez partnership would take a lot of work.
Pogba and Griezmann do work well together on international duty with France, but that has required a great deal of tactical tweaking and would also rely on a more offensive shift, something Mourinho has not always been comfortable with as a defensive-minded coach.
Lacazette can answer all their questions. He ticks all the boxes, especially when one sees just how icy the blood that runs through his veins are with efforts on goal like the one he converted against AS Roma at the beginning of March.