Former Arsenal captain William Gallas has urged Gunners fans to be patient with record signing Alexandre Lacazette and give him time to adapt to the demands of the Premier League.
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Arsene Wenger sanctioned a club-record £52.7m fee to secure the striker’s signature from Lyon where he scored 100 Ligue 1 goals in 203 league games.
Lacazette scored on his Arsenal debut against Sydney FC during their pre-season tour in Australia earlier this week but Gallas warns that the 26-year-old could well have a long adaptation process ahead of him.
“We have to give him time,” said Gallas, speaking on behalf of Betsafe at the Star Sixes event at London’s O2 Arena.
“Sometimes it’s not easy to change country, you have to speak another language. It’s not easy to settle very quick. I know in football everything is about results so if he doesn’t score many goals people will judge him straight away. We have to give him two years to see what he can do.”
Lacazette’s stunning goalscoring record for Lyon won him admirers across the continent with Arsenal stealing a march on fellow suitors Atletico Madrid, who saw their transfer plans scuppered due to a FIFA transfer ban.
He will be expected to continue his impressive scoring rate in the Premier League where Gallas believes he will come up against a different kind of challenge than he’s faced in his career to date.
“What we know in the Premier League is very physical,” he said. “Every game you gave to be ready. It’s a question everybody needs to ask themselves, if Lacazette will be good for that league. I don’t know.
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“In France he was a great, great player. He scored so many goals. Now he’s in the Premier League it will be a different league, a new challenge for him. We have to wish him all the best and to see if he will settle very well.”
Gallas watched the recent FA Cup final between two of his former clubs – Chelsea and Arsenal – and admits it was tough to cheer for either side having spent five years at Stamford Bridge and four with the Gunners. However he was relieved to see his former boss Arsene Wenger get some breathing space with the cup victory.
“It’s good for him,” said Gallas. “He had a lot of criticism during all the season. So now he will stay for two more years. He will be a little bit less pressured.
“Now he is going to be build the big squad to try to win the Premier League. I wish him all the best.”
William Gallas, speaking on behalf of Betsafe, the principle partner of Star Sixes.
For more information about Betsafe and Star Sixes, please go to: www.betsafe.com