Arsene Wenger exclusive: Alexandre Lacazette challenged to continue scoring record at Arsenal
By Oliver Yew
Last Updated: 11/08/17 10:48am
Arsene Wenger has challenged new signing Alexandre Lacazette to continue the success he showed in front of goal for Lyon in the Premier League at Arsenal.
The France international, who moved to the Gunners for a club-record deal this summer, scored 28 goals from 2,408 minutes of action in Ligue 1 last season.
He also boasted the highest chance conversion rate in Europe's top five leagues last season (38.9 per cent), scoring 37 goals in 45 games as Lyon secured a fourth-place finish in Ligue 1 and reached the Europa League semi-finals.
Ahead of Arsenal's season opener against Leicester, which is live on Friday Night Football on Sky Sports Premier League, Wenger wants Lacazette to prove he can be a success in England's top flight.
"Lacazette can integrate well into the game we want to play with his movement, combination, technical quality and efficiency," Wenger told Sky Sports.
"In France he scored a goal every 80 minutes. Will he transfer that into the Premier League?
"That's the target. He has to show he can do that."
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One player the Frenchman is backing to adapt to the Premier League quickly is Arsenal's other new summer signing, Sead Kolasinac.
The left-back, who signed from Schalke on a free transfer, has already made an impact, scoring Arsenal's equaliser as they went on to beat Chelsea on penalties in the Community Shield last Sunday.
And Wenger believes Kolasinac has all the attributes to be a success in the Premier League.
"Kolasinac is a versatile player," Wenger added. "He can play on the left side but also in central defence.
"I believe he has the power, the attitude and the desire to integrate very quickly into the Premier League."
Lacazette and Kolasinac are the only signings at the Emirates Stadium so far this summer, but Wenger refused to rule out a further addition if the right player becomes available.
"We are open to an exceptional player," he said. "However, just to remind you we have 33 players and they are all good players.
"That's unmanageable so to bring one more player in for the sake of it would be stupid, but if we find an exceptional one, we will do it."
After what was a largely difficult season for Arsenal, finishing outside the top four for the first time in 20 years, they ended the campaign on a high by beating Chelsea to lift the FA Cup.
They continued where they left off last Sunday, warming up for the season in fine style by lifting the Community Shield after beating Chelsea at Wembley again.
Wenger, who signed a new two-year deal at the club, insists the victory at Wembley has strengthened the confidence in his squad but has warned against complacency when they take on Leicester after a number of opening day set-backs in recent seasons.
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When asked what the Community Shield victory means for his side, the Frenchman said: "It will increase the belief but then you face a shock when the league starts.
"Let's focus on Leicester on Friday but let's not forget we've had difficult starts at home in recent seasons. We have been shocked a few times but the target this time is to start in a strong way against a very difficult team in Leicester.
"It's an opportunity but it's also tricky because if you don't win it's a bad start. The best therapy is to win and it would be fantastic.
"It's an important game for us because afterwards we go away to Stoke and to Liverpool. The fixtures are difficult at the start so it's important."