Steve Bould says Alex Lacazette has been working hard in the gym while he’s been sidelined and thinks the knee injury, which required surgery, could prove to be a blessing in disguise for the France international.
The 26-year-old started his Arsenal career with a bang, netting inside five minutes of his Premier League debut against Leicester, but was struggling for form in front of goal before he was sidelined for five weeks.
Back to full fitness and eager to fight for a place in Arsene Wenger’s starting lineup, Lacazette, who signed for €53 million last summer, has impressed Bould on the training pitch.
“It’s [the injury] unfortunate for the kid, but this little break might have done him a world of good actually,” Bould told Arsenal Player ahead of the Gunners match with Stoke at the Emirates.
“The Premier League is different to the French League where he came from, he’s found it physically tougher. It might be a blessing in disguise the fact that he’s had a month off.”
Bould went on: “He’s actually a very, very, very good football player. I was quite surprised…I don’t mean this in a derogatory manner whatsoever.
“He could play number ten. He’s a really good football player, he’s not just a goalscorer, he’s not an out-and-out striker, he can play.
“I think the physical element has surprised him a bit and caught up with him, which it does with many players who come from abroad.
“Like I said I think the last month may have helped him, I know he’s been working in the gym. We’re hoping he comes back sharp.
“Lots of the great players go through these times, it’s not a worry.”
Lacazette is expected to play a part in Sunday’s game against Stoke and, assuming he comes through that test without a setback, should challenge Danny Welbeck for a start in Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final first-leg with CSKA Moscow.