It looks as though Newcastle United have missed out on a real future star of World football in Alexandre Lacazette.
Last summer the striker delayed signing a new contract and with only a year left to go on his then current contract, the Lyon striker was ripe to be plucked from French football.
One of the up and coming young stars of Ligue 1, Lacazette was reported to be interested in a move to England and with Lyon strapped for cash, an ambitious club would surely have landed the exciting striker.
With Newcastle desperate for a new credible striker, an offer of just over £10m was said to be enough to land him. Instead, as the transfer window was due to close, Alexandre Lacazette signed a two year extension and neither he nor Lyon have looked back. Newcastle having gone for a bargain buy of Emmanuel Riviere, a journeyman striker who has already played for three different French clubs.
What might have been!
Whilst Riviere hasn’t scored a single goal in the Premier League, Lacazette has scored a remarkable 29 goals in 31 domestic matches, including 21 goals in 23 Ligue 1 matches, this puts him a massive 7 goals ahead of the nearest challenger Andre-Pierre Gignac and 10 ahead of superstar Ibrahimovic at PSG.
Now the Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas has declared:
“Alexandre is not for sale, he will not be for sale and he will not leave.
“He is part of the generation of players that we want to take to the new stadium.”
The climate has totally changed for Lyon, with their brand new stadium, the ‘Stade des Lumières’, opening next year to host European Championship finals matches and to be the new home for the French club.
Lyon are right at the top of the league thanks largely to Alexandre Lacazette’s goals, with a big 11 point gap above the fourth team, the two top teams automatically qualifying for the Champions League group stages and the third having to get in via a play-off.
A new stadium and much improved finances now mean Lyon are under no pressure to sell and with the striker himself having shown he isn’t a one season wonder, Newcastle now have no chance of signing Lacazette even if Mike Ashley would belatedly allow some of the profits to be spent.
The 23 year old is now in the French senior squad and potentially looking at a title triumph and Champions League football, whilst at Newcastle we face the prospect of Papiss Cisse almost certain to be sold this summer with only a year left on his contract and it looking very hard to see where United will get guaranteed goals from unless Ashley completely rethinks his transfer ‘strategy’.