New Arsenal signing Alexandre Lacazette says a chance meeting with Thierry Henry in New York helped him to find renewed focus in his drive to reach the top of the game.
The Gunners confirmed the capture of the France international from Lyon for an initial fee of €53 million – a club record – and he’s expected to join his new teammates in the coming days ahead of the pre-season tour to Australia and China.
Speaking to UEFA.com back in May, the 26-year-old said: “Thierry shook me up. He told me I always have to keep working on myself, which you tend to forget when you’re young.
“When a player like Thierry speaks, you can’t ignore what he’s saying to you. I realised that to be a great player meant permanent hard work. Someone like him always wanted to improve, even with the career he had.”
At the time, Lacazette made clear that he’d only join a club that could offer him Champions League football but appears to have been won over by Arsenal’s style of football and the fact a move to Atletico Madrid collapsed when the Spanish side were hit with a transfer ban.
Elsewhere, former Liverpool and France manager Gerard Houllier believes Lacazette could emulate Ian Wright’s ‘fox-in-the-box’ tenacity. Wright moved to Highbury in 1991 at the age of 28 and went on to break Cliff Bastin’s scoring record inside seven years. He left the Gunners in 1998 with 185 goals to his name.
“He is very mobile, very quick, good in short spaces, has good skill and he scores goals,” Houllier told talkSPORT.
“He was the top scorer in France in 2014-15, the best player in the league in 2015 and has been the best French scorer over the last three seasons.
“He scores more than 25 goals every season. One thing he will bring to Arsenal is goals. His main asset is to score goals.
“He has good technique, is good at using short spaces and is a hard-working player. He can attack, he can defend quickly. I’m not surprised Arsene fancied him.
“He will fit in their game. He will suit their passing game, the way they build up, their approach. He is very good near the box.
“He is a bit like Ian Wright really. You don’t seem to see him and then suddenly he moves.”
Excited by the new arrival, Wrighty took the time to welcome Lacazette to Arsenal by posting on Twitter.
— Ian Wright (@IanWright0) July 5, 2017