Alexandre Lacazette was a good, sometimes great footballer for Arsenal. As I said yesterday and has been repeated across the internet, he worked hard, was model pro and leader in the dressing room, mentored the Gunners’ young players, and had a smile that could light up the Emirates. You can tell from Lacazette’s comments on leaving the club that are slowly filtering across social media that he loved being at and playing for Arsenal.
I’m not sure I can reasonably ask much more of a player. Yes, he fell short of the expectations created by his transfer fee. But is that his fault? He didn’t tell Arsenal to pay that much for him. Nor did he go out and buy Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang half a season later, creating a partnership that never totally clicked on the pitch at the cost of spending on other positions.
In many ways, Alexandre Lacazette typified the last five years at Arsenal: good, sometimes great, and at the same time, not good enough. And that’s fine!
We’ve developed such a front-runner mentality as sports fans. There is so much pressure to be “the best” [whatever]. There is a sentiment that not winning the league and / or trophies is a stain on your individual legacy even though it’s a team sport, and you’re often only as good as the guys around you (except in the case of Harry Kane - his lack of trophies is absolutely a black mark on his resume).
We need to remember it’s enough to be good. It’s fine to be just okay, too. “Okay” isn’t a club with which we should be beating players. You don’t have to etch yourself among the pantheon of the greats to have had a useful, positive season / tenure at a club / career.
And that same sentiment applies to life in general, too. Being a decent person who is good to others and leaves (even a small) corner of the world a better place is a life well-lived.
That’s Alexandre Lacazette in a nutshell. He was a good player on the pitch. An even better teammate off it. And he leaves Arsenal better than he found it. He came to the club in decline at the end of the Wenger era. He struggled through a transitional period. Won an FA Cup. And leaves with Arsenal in a promising youth rebuild, after helping get the team back into Europe after a season in the wilderness. Merci, Alex!