Gunners blow as Lacazette 'not for sale'
Arsenal were yesterday handed a major blow in their search for a new striker when Lyon took the unusual step of releasing a statement to claim that they will not sell Alexandre Lacazette this summer.
Having failed to persuade Jamie Vardy to leave Leicester City or launch a bid for Gonzalo Higuain who yesterday became the world's third most expensive player when joining Juventus for €90m, Arsène Wenger had targeted Lacazette and, according to Lyon, made a bid of €35 million that they did not even deem worthy of a direct response.
However, after becoming angered by a report in the French media that Arsenal had bid €48 million, Lyon released a club statement. "Olympique Lyonnais categorically denies having received a €48 million offer from Arsenal for Alexandre Lacazette like 'Le Progrès' claims in their edition this morning," said the statement. "The reality is that the club Arsenal made an offer worth €35 million, which Lyon did not follow up on for one reason: OL will keep Alexandre Lacazette, who is irreplaceable."
Arsenal had also been interested in Álvaro Morata but he has rejoined Real Madrid. With Danny Welbeck injured and Olivier Giroud on holiday following Euro 2016, Arsenal face beginning the new season against Liverpool with Theo Walcott, Chuba Akpom and Joel Campbell as their only fit strikers. They also face a problem in central defence after an injury to Per Mertesacker. Mertesacker will miss the start of the season with a potentially serious knee injury that ruled him out of the pre-season trip to the US. The extent of that injury is not known but is likelier to keep him out for months rather than weeks.
The problem for Arsenal is that their other experienced centre-back Laurent Koscielny will also miss the start of the season. He is not expected back from pre-season training until August 8, having been given four weeks to recover from Euro 2016. Koscielny and Olivier Giroud both played for France in the final on July 10, and Wenger has promised that he will not rush the pair back.