Tottenham Hotspur manager Tim Sherwood barely has his feet under the table at White Hart Lane but he is already said to be making a start at identifying this summer’s transfer targets. Last night one of Spurs' scouts was spotted in France taking in a Coupe de France game at the Stade Gerland. His assignment was reportedly to watch Olympique Lyonnais’ 13-league goal striker Alexandre Lacazette.
Exclu : un scout de Tottenham se trouvait à Gerland jeudi soir pour observer Alexandre Lacazette #OLRCL— Foot Mercato (@footmercato) February 14, 2014
It’s no surprise that interest from the Premier League is beginning to grow for the 22-year-old. Often cited as one of France’s most promising youngsters, the Lyon youth product is currently enjoying his most productive season in front of goal, and his all-round play has helped transform Lyon’s faltering season.
The scout may have gone away disappointed as Lacazette only made his entrance in the 68th minute and was unable to help his side capture a place in the quarter-finals as Lyon conceded as equaliser late in injury-time, only to go behind early in extra time as Ligue 2 side RC Lens finished the game 2-1 winners.
After an abysmal start to the 2013/14 campaign, the goals of Lacazette have propelled OL back up the table, sitting in fifth at present, with an eye on overtaking Lille who currently occupy the last Champions League spot. This is the forward’s fifth season in the Lyon first-team, his previous highest goal tally was five, but that was back in 2012. In 22 appearances, his 13 goals put him level with Paris Saint-Germain’s Edinson Cavani in the goal scoring charts, only 2nd to the Uruguayan’s teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic. If you remove goals scored from penalties, Lacazette is Ligue 1’s top scorer from open play this season.
Spurs fans may remember the forward from the recent Europa League meetings last season, during those games Lacazette played mostly on the right-wing, but he showed a few moments of class that will have caught the attention of some. Now he has moved his game to a more central position and his combination of pace, skill on the ball and intelligent movement have made him a handful for Ligue 1 defenders and has taken his game to the next level.
Starting off as a winger has given him great control on the ball and combined with an excellent first touch, he can often glide past bulkier centre-backs. Adept at playing with his back to goal, he can also use his pace to make dangerous runs in-behind, and this season has seen a vast improvement in his finishing. There is still more to come from the 22-year-old, but all the raw, exciting elements are there.
Tottenham are the second London club to show an interest in the French forward, Arsenal were linked heavily with the player during the January transfer window, and it would be no surprise if Arsene Wenger was also planning a move this summer.
Lacazette has an outside chance of making Didier Deschamps 23-man squad for the World Cup in Brazil. Both London clubs would be smart to move quickly if he does make the squad, any good performances in Brazil could see Lyon’s asking price sky-rocket.