Why Lacazette could hold the key to both Man United and Arsenal’s seasons

It appears as though both Manchester United and Arsenal will be starting the 17/18 campaign without their talismanic strikers from last season.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic managed 28 goals in 46 games during his debut campaign at Old Trafford but unfortunately suffered knee ligament damage which ruled him out of the 2016/17 season and will see him miss the start of next season.

Arsenal’s main man was Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean bagged 30 goals in 51 games – including 24 in the Premier League – and was the Gunners’ leading striker in the first half of the campaign.

The 28-year-old was soon shifted out onto the wing, though, as the likes of Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck were often preferred down the centre, leading to a number of rumours the South American would be heading for the exit.

With neither player likely to be their respective sides’ starting strikers come August, it looks as though both may look to one of Europe’s hottest talents to spearhead their attacks.

Alexandre Lacazette hit 37 goals in 45 games last season for an inconsistent Lyon side, making it three seasons in a row he has scored 20 or more goals in Ligue 1. On top of that, he managed an impressive seven goals in Europe; albeit in the Europa League.

Both clubs have been linked with the 26-year-old, with The Mirror claiming United are setting their sights on a £50m move for the French striker and Arsenal, as always, will be the market for a marquee striker.

The Frenchman would undoubtedly raise the prospects of either side were he to leave Lyon.

Arsenal are constantly linked with top strikers after question marks over the contribution of Olivier Giroud but initially looked to have solved that problem by moving Sanchez up top.

The Chilean’s work rate and movement added an air of unpredictability to the Gunners’ attack – far more than the more static Giroud, who tends to slow down the build-up a little more.

Lacazette certainly resembles the former a lot more in his playing style and has an eye for goal that would surely see him thrive with the likes of Sanchez and Mesut Ozil feeding him.

He would also appear to be an ideal fit for Man United, particularly after the news that primary target Antoine Griezmann would be remaining at Atletico Madrid for another year.

It remains to be seen how long Ibrahimovic will be injured for and even if he will stay at Old Trafford beyond his contract, which expires at the end of the month.

Either way, the Red Devils will need a new attacker rather than relying on the young legs of the talented Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, particularly with the addition of Champions League football.

The one thing that Ibrahimovic guaranteed was goals; something you’d imagine Lacazette would be able to produce given the amount of chances United created for the big Swede last term.

The United man had a total of 116 shots in the Premier League last season and managed 55% accuracy, whereas Lacazette’s stood at 65%. The Frenchman edged the Swede in Europe as well, managing seven goals in 12 games compared to the 35-year-old’s five in 11.

While Lacazette may not adjust as quickly to English football as the enigmatic Ibrahimovic – who has played in six different countries – he certainly seems like a top option for either side.

The Frenchman has already announced his intention to leave Lyon this summer and if he decided to join Arsenal or United it could provide the key to them kicking on next season.

Who knows, whichever line he chooses to lead could be the one sat on top of the Premier League this time next year.

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