Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has backed Alexandre Lacazette to stimulate a renewed push for major honours next season after completing the club record £52m signing of the France striker.
Lacazette, 26, joins from Lyon, where he scored 37 goals in 45 games last term, for an initial fee of £46.5m that could rise to £52m including performance-related bonuses.
Despite a flurry of three FA Cups in the last four years, the Gunners have rarely looked like adding to their 13 top-flight titles since they last won the Premier League in 2004, but Wenger believes the prolific Lacazette can help to elevate Arsenal.
“We are very happy to have Alexandre join our group. He has shown over a number of years that he can score goals and that he is a very efficient finisher,” said Wenger.
“As well, he has very interesting technical qualities and a strong character. So he is a guy who is a great addition for us, and someone who will help us challenge at the top level this season.”
Lacazette cited boyhood hero Thierry Henry and Arsenal’s style of play as factors in accepting a move to north London, despite the absence of Champions League football.
“I always dreamed of playing for this club so today that dream has been fulfilled,” he said. “Arsenal is also the club that plays the best football in England so I really wanted to come here.”
Lacazette has one goal from 11 international appearances and had been set to join Atletico Madrid this month until they failed in a bid to overturn their transfer embargo.
He is expected to join his new team-mates in departing for Australia on Sunday, ahead of pre-season matches against Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers next week.
His arrival raises questions about the future of Gunners forward Olivier Giroud, a target for Everton and West Ham, while contract rebels Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are still yet to agree new deals.