Falcao v Lacazette: Why Chelsea Should Sign France International

Falcao Man Utd
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Chelsea need a new striker. Probably more than one.

Drogba is officially moving on to play more football, something I didn’t see coming but wanting game time is one thing I can’t begrudge anybody.

Remy looks as though he’ll be staying and we all know what Costa can do. These two are scintillating Premier League forwards when fit. But there are the key words, ‘when fit’.

Either way, we only had 3 strikers last season and too often it felt as though we were too thin on the ground in the goal department.

Chelsea have been linked with both Alexandre Lacazette and Radamel Falcao. Lacazette hasn’t been mentioned for a couple of weeks while the Falcao rumour that has emerged over the past few days seems to have some weight to it.

It’s highly unlikely we’d sign both, so we wanted to take a look at who would be the better signing.

Lacazette v Falcao
Let’s take a look at some top line stats from both their 2014/15 seasons, with Lacazette at Lyon (finished 2nd in Ligue 1) and Falcao on loan at Man United from Monaco (finished 4th in BPL).

Stats are from League games only.

Lacazette
Mins Played: 2,849
Goals: 27
Assists: 6
Pass Completion: 78.8%
Dribbles per game: 2
Tackles per game: 0.8

Falcao
Mins Played: 1,287
Goals: 4
Assists: 4
Pass Completion: 86.2%
Dribbles per game: 0.5
Tackles per game: 0.4

If you were to take one player on stats alone from last season, Lacazette would comfortably be the winner. Besides, Falcao has played less than half the time Lacazette has.

So let’s have a quick look at Falcao’s history before arriving at Man United. His 2013/14 season was curtailed by injury (more on that shortly), meaning he again only managed to play 1,398 minutes of football, scoring 9 goals and 0 assists.

Combine those two seasons and he’s still not played as much football as Lacazette has this season alone.

Going back one season further, Falcao peaked. He played 2,913 minutes (34 games), scored 28 goals and grabbed 1 assist. Now quickly look back at Lacazette’s season and see how similar Falcao’s 2012/13 and Lacazette’s 2015/15 season were from a numbers perspective.

There are two key things I take from this. Firstly, 2013 was a long time ago (particularly in football terms) and secondly, everything screams out that Falcao is past his peak and Lacazette is just entering his.

Of course this could all be proven wrong, but I know who looks the juicier prospect from a transfer perspective.

Injury History
Falcao also comes with his share of injury worries. In January last year he unerwent surgery on a cruciate ligament injury and he missed the second half of Monaco’s season. This past season at Man United he has also seemed to pick up those niggling injuries (in many ways similar to Remy), where his availability from one game to the next has been inconsistent at best.

Given that Remy and Costa are prone to an injury, it would be a surprise if Chelsea took a gamble on someone that has struggled for fitness for the last 12 months and beyond.

Lacazette on the other hand has quite the clean record. Yes he’s 5 years younger than Falcao yet there’s many a young striker that comes with baggage in the form of surgeries and other injuries that they never seem to shake. Lacazette would arrive in good shape on the back of a strong season in terms of performances.

The Crunch
My opinion is that the difference may come down to playing time demands.

Lacazette, its safe to assume, would likely demand to be first choice and with Mourinho likely to continue with only one striker next season there are going to be no guarantees from the boss. With the European Championships next summer, Lacazette will want to remain in the French squad and the only way he can do that is if he is playing regular first team football.

Meanwhile, Falcao has a reputation to rebuild in England. His first season was underwhelming to say the least and he may now be prepared to accept a more minor role while being in probably the best place to rebuild that reputation – the current Champions. There’s also the lure of Champions League football too, what better reason to stay fit.

My Opinion
My heart says I’d prefer to see us make the effort to sign Lacazette, my head says I don’t think the circumstances are right for us to be able to pull of the signing.

That doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll go for Falcao, there’s plenty of other strikers that would fit nicely into Jose’s squad, but don’t be surprised if we make a move for him on loan.