It has been a topsy-turvy season in the Premier League for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal. They have, however, shown consistently positive performances since Christmas. Among the many questions that need to be answered this summer, it is time for Arteta to evaluate Alexandre Lacazette‘s future.
The French striker is 29 and at a crossroads in his career. While he is generally adored by Arsenal fans, his overall output has not been up to the mark for the past 2 seasons. Moreover, his agent has reportedly been looking at moves to other clubs such as Atletico Madrid and Juventus.
This scout report provides a tactical analysis of 3 players that Arsenal should sign to replace Lacazette and fit into Arteta’s tactics. Our analysis considers statistical similarities, market value and the likelihood of the move happening.
1. Che Adams (Southampton)
In conjunction with former Liverpool player Danny Ings, Adams has been outstanding this season. The 24-year-old Englishman has scored 7 goals and 4 assists this season and has thrived in a false 9 role in his attacking partnership at Southampton. This is quite similar to the attacking chemistry between Lacazette and Aubamayeng.
Having largely played the left side of a front 2, Adams’ versatility could add depth to Arteta’s squad. In addition, he is stylistically quite similar to the French Number 9 in his defensive contributions. Out of the 3.04 defensive duels he engages in every game, Adams has a success rate of 57%.
Moreover, the similarities between both players moving forward are noteworthy Consider the following comparison.
Despite recording more dribbles per 90, Lacazette outperforms the Englishman in every metric. However, the inherent shapes of players’ radars are quite similar indicating that Adams could statistically develop into Lacazett’s mould in the future.
2. Yussuf Poulsen
As is apparent in the respective heat maps of both players, Lacazette and Yussuf Poulsen share a similar role in the final third. The Dane has been one of Leipzig’s most consistent players and plays a crucial role in their possession chains. Poulsen is 192cm tall and has an aerial duels win percentage of 55.3%. This could provide a new dimension to Arsenal in the final third.
In addition, with an impressive accurate forward pass percentage of 71% and an xA per 90 of 0.31, Poulsen could provide sharpness to Arsenal’s build-up that they often lack. Moreover, while both players are similar defensively, Lacazette is more direct than the Dane in the final third.
Conversely, Poulsen’s notably higher touches inside the box/90 indicate that he is adept at holding the ball around the final third whilst trying to make a final pass. This is more in-line with a false 9 role for Arteta’s Arsenal as they have Aubameyang to receive the final pass and find the back of the net.
3. Joao Pedro
This is a potential move that is in the true spirit of Arsenal’s empowered young guns. 19-year-old Brazilian youngster Joao Pedro is a highly rated talent and has recorded 9 goals and 1 assist for Watford in the Championship this season. Pedro has an xG per 90 of 0.44 and averages 0.9 smart passes per 90 and 1.01 through passes per 90 – which is quite high for a centre-forward.
In addition to having a well-balanced and line-breaking offensive profile, Joao Pedro’s defensive contributions are strikingly similar to that of Lacazatte.
For a 19-year-old, the above radar chart is a truly impressive feat. Pedro records fewer fouls per 90 than the Frenchman on the one hand. On the other hand, he has a higher output for defensive duels won, aerial duels won, and interceptions per 90.
In addition to being a bit of an output-merchant, imagine Joao Pedro playing alongside his fellow countryman Gabriel Martinelli. The youngster would not only be given a platform to develop but also be given substantial game-time at Arsenal.
All in all, the above players would contribute to the long-term evolution of Arsenal’s tactics.