In the last few days the attention of Newcastle United has switched to Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette. The Lyon striker, who scored 16 goals in Ligue 1 last season, has been linked with a £10 million move to the North-East. However, if Alan Pardew is looking to play 4-2-3-1 next season, Lacazette is not the striker he should be looking at.
There is no doubting the ability that Lacazette has, and this is not to say he is not good enough for Newcastle United. In fact he could play for any top club in England but to get the best out of the forward, you need to play him in a system that suits his talents.
Lacazette’s excellent season for Lyon came off the back of mediocre seasons playing on the right or left of a three man attack, be it in a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 – he showed potential and had moments of greatness, but never quite pushed on in the manner that was expected.
This season, Remi Garde changed the system to a 4-4-2 diamond, even more 4-2-2-2 at times; the most important thing is that Lacazette was playing as a centre-forward, with a partner to support him.
16 goals don’t happen by accident, this was Garde playing Lacazette in his natural position. He could go wide and use his pace to spin in behind, or he could get the ball to feet and bring in his teammates.
Never was he left isolated as a lone front-man, asked to do all the running himself and lead the line. His partner Bafetimbi Gomis could do this, but this isn’t where you get the best from Lacazette.
Quotes from Newcastle new boy Siem de Jong seem to suggest he sees himself as a No.10 playmaker, taking the place of Yohan Cabaye; this would lead Newcastle to playing 4-2-3-1 – in that sense the only place for Lacazette would be to play him as the lone forward or on the wing.
It would be ridiculous to pay £10 million for a player, to then play him out of position. Perhaps Pardew has another plan under his belt. Playing 4-4-1-1 with de Jong behind Lacazette and given the freedom to support the forward and not leave him stranded could work.
Only buy Lacazette if you are going to use him properly, if you aren’t going to give him the support he thrives off, Newcastle should take their money elsewhere.