West Ham need a top quality striker this summer and it looks as if the Hammers are focusing on Ligue 1 when it comes to finding a goal machine.
Both potential targets are fantastic players and would certainly improve the attacking situation next season but who is the better option?
Looking at the current Ligue 1 top scorers, there is nothing to separate the two front men. Batshuayi and Lacazette have both bagged 13 league goals this season. In terms of assists, the young Belgian is ahead of Lacazette by five assists to the Frenchman’s one.
Last season, Lacazette was hugely impressive, scoring 27 league goals in just 33 games. Batshuayi bagged nine goals in 26 appearances in the same campaign. Although this is not exactly a massive total, the fact that the 22-year-old only played 920 minutes compared to Lacazette’s 2843 shows just how effective the Marseille striker can be despite the lack of game time.
According to whoscored.com’s statistics, Lacazette’s main strengths include finishing, dribbling and holding on to the ball. Those attributes suggest that the Frenchman has the foundations to be a real success in the Premier League. Lacazette also possesses fantastic movement and he is also extremely quick. He has drawn comparisons with Arsenal legend Thierry Henry due to his playing style.
When looking at Batshuayi, whoscored.com credits the striker with dribbling as a main strength but does not highlight any other areas of expertise for the striker. This seems a little harsh on first viewing but there is a reason behind this. Most of Batshuayi’s goals this season have been poacher’s goals.
He has an incredible knack of popping up in the right place at the right time and this is something that is more of a gift than an attribute. Nonetheless, a more detailed look at his playing style shows that the striker has a good leap and, like Lacazette, is excellent in terms of movement going forward.
In terms of valuation and contract length, the players slightly differ here. Due to Lacazette’s pedigree (top scorer last season), he will probably be available for a fee closer to £30m than £20m. His contract expires in 2019 so Lyon are in a capable position when it comes to demanding a sizeable transfer fee.
Batshuayi himself is contracted at Marseille until 2020. However, the team’s position both in the league and in a financial sense suggests that the player could be available for around £20m or less, making him more of an attractive option in this case.
One final thing that could sway many Hammers fans is Batshuayi’s friendship with Dimitri Payet. The pair developed a brief but effective partnership when they played together at Marseille and Slaven Bilic may want to reunite the pair in order to provide a regular supply of goals at the Olympic Stadium next season.
Looking at the bigger picture, both strikers are fantastic options and West Ham will be lucky if they manage to capture one of these talented players this summer. Although it is difficult to separate the two, Batshuayi is the move that makes the most sense for the Hammers right now.