Arsenal target Alexandre Lacazette offered new contract by Lyon - but he wants to join Gunners
Lyon have offered Alexandre Lacazette a new contract to ward off Arsenal's attempts to sign the striker, but the 25 year-old has decided he wants to join the Premier League club.
However, Arsenal will have to raise their offer to €50 million (£42.2 million) at least if they are to have any hope of persuading Lyon to sell their prize asset in what could be a protracted transfer saga.
Arsenal have so far had an initial offer of €35 million (£29.3 million) rejected for Lacazette and are prepared to make a second bid of £35 million (€41.5 million), but that is also expected to be turned down by the French club.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has publically declared that he does not expect Arsenal to make further bids but Arsene Wenger is unlikely to be deterred as he steps up his hunt to improve his depleted strike force.
Wenger met with Lacazette's representatives during the recent Euro 2016 finals in France. The meeting took place in Lyon where Wenger was attending France's last-16 tie against the Republic of Ireland.
In an interview with Telegraph Sport earlier this year, Lacazette revealed that he would like to leave Lyon this summer and was attracted by a move to England. Since then, Lyon have rejected a series of bids from West Ham United. Paris Saint-Germain are also interested in Lacazette but he is reluctant to move to another French club having spent all his career at his hometown club.
Arsenal's interest, though, is far more appealing, especially with the guarantee of Champions League football and a title challenge. It may also be now or never for Lacazette, who can play anywhere across the forward line, to leave to further his career.
Crucially, sources close to Lacazette have revealed to Telegraph Sport that the striker is strongly interested in the move and wants to go, although it remains to be seen whether he can resist Lyon's attempts to offer their highest-paid player another extended contract.
It would appear unlikely that Arsenal would bid as high as €50 million but privately Aulas has made it clear he will not accept anything less for Lacazette who, although he wants to leave, is not expected to push for a move in public.
There is a strong emotional pull for Lacazette to stay at Lyon and coach Bruno Genesio, who has been a big influence on the player after taking over during last season, has met with the France international to stress how important he is to his plans and how much he wants him to stay.
Lyon also know that Arsenal face a striker crisis having missed out on Jamie Vardy and with Olivier Giroud set to miss the start of the season after his extended involvement in Euro 2016 - and with Danny Welbeck not yet returned to full fitness.