Arsenal ready to pay £34 million release clause for Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette
Arsenal have indicated they are prepared to pay the €40 million (£34.2 million) fee that will trigger talks with Lyon to sign their striker Alexandre Lacazette.
However, no bid has been lodged yet for the 25-year-old France international who has once more rejected the chance to join West Ham United.
West Ham returned to Lyon again this week having failed with a series of bids to persuade Lacazette to join them earlier this summer. But having missed out on their second choice, Michy Batshuayi, who has joined Chelsea for £33 million, and with Crystal Palace hoping to seal a move for their third choice, Christian Benteke, for £31.5 million, West Ham made one final effort for Lacazette.
Again, however, it was rejected with Lyon confident they will keep Lacazette. Nevertheless, other clubs remain interested in the forward who, in an interview with The Daily Telegraph earlier this year, declared he was keen finally to leave Lyon, his hometown club, and would like to play in the Premier League.
Since then Lyon have qualified for the Champions League and Lacazette, who missed out on a place in France’s Euro 2016 squad, is now unsure whether he should leave.
It is believed that the Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, who is working as a television pundit during the tournament, used covering France’s recent match against the Republic of Ireland in Lyon as an opportunity to meet Lacazette’s representatives.
It is also understood that Lyon are demanding a fee of €40 million – but even then it appears to be an initial indication to open talks rather than a set fee – but Arsenal have suggested that is not a problem with Wenger determined to strengthen his strike force and with Jamie Vardy deciding to stay at Leicester City, despite his £21 million release clause being met. Vardy has since signed a new contract.
Arsenal have yet to follow through their interest in Lacazette and it would appear Wenger is assessing other options. Paris St-Germain have also not given up hope of signing Lacazette, although it remains unlikely he will play for another French club, while Atlético Madrid have a long-standing interest and, having signed Fernando Torres on a one-year deal, and with their main target Diego Costa expected to stay at Chelsea, could make a move if they sell Argentine striker Luciano Vietto to Porto.