Thursday, August 24, 2017

Lacazette will need time, warns Arsenal great Pires

SoccerNews in English Premier League 22 Jul 2017

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Arsenal’s record signing Alexandre Lacazette will need time to get used to life in the Premier League, former Gunners star Robert Pires has warned.

The striker moved to the Emirates Stadium from Lyon this month for a reported fee of £52.7million, making him the club’s most expensive player.

Lacazette scored on his debut in a 2-0 friendly win over Sydney FC, having hit 28 goals in 28 starts in Ligue 1 last season.

But Pires, who enjoyed a decorated six-year spell at Arsenal from 2000 to 2006, believes the 26-year-old could find it as difficult as he did to make the transition to England’s top flight.

“I think he’ll be a success. But maybe he will need time to adapt,” he was quoted as saying the BBC.

“He is a good striker who has scored a lot of goals with Lyon. Of course it will be very difficult in the beginning because when you play in France and move to England it is not the same, it is very aggressive.

“Maybe he will need time for the adaptation but everyone around him is very important, especially the French connection.

“But to make the adaption, to find the rhythm and the tempo, for me it took six or seven months. It was very tough, for me it was the aggression and intensity.”

Pires, who won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups with Arsenal, even considered if he had made a mistake in joining the club.

“It was my first game away at Sunderland and Arsene Wenger said ‘Robert, I know you are a bit upset because you want to play but I prefer if you are on the bench and you can watch the game, the fight and the tempo’.

“After 20 minutes sat on the bench I said to myself ‘what are you doing here?’ because it was very, very difficult. I remember one tackle from Patrick Vieira and I thought this football wasn’t for me.

“It was very difficult and it is about adaptation. If you play in France, Spain or Italy it is not the same football.”

Arsenal have been heavily linked with a move for Monaco winger Thomas Lemar and Pires has backed manager Arsene Wenger in his pursuit of the 21-year-old.

“I love Lemar. He played very well last season with Monaco in the Champions League,” he said. 

“He is a young player with good technique, a good left foot, he can do a good cross and score good goals. For me, he has a very good profile to play for Arsenal.”

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