Friday 23 February 2018

Will Arsenal up their bid for Alexandre Lacazette after being embarrassed by Lyon?

Lyon rejected a bid from Arsenal for Alexandre Lacazette
Lyon rejected a bid from Arsenal for Alexandre Lacazette

Jack de Menezes

Arsenal could face further frustration though in their pursuit of a new striker after Lyon decided to go public with their rejection of a €35m offer from the Premier League side for striker Alexandre Lacazette.

Lyon made the unusual decision to reveal Arsenal’s offer in a bid to play down suggestions that the fee was closer to the £40m mark, leaving the English club to face further scrutiny from the club’s fans who believe they are falling short of their rivals in the transfer market.

The move is made all the more embarrassing given that West Ham had already seen a £32m offer turned down by the French side.

However, The Mirror claim that Lyon are expected to sell the prolific goalscorer should Arsenal lodge a bid in excess of £40m, though it remains to be seen just how much more they will need to offer in order to open talks with the France international. 25-year-old Lacazette finished runner-up to Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 2015/16 Ligue 1 goalscorer charts, having led the way the season before.

Arsenal’s early defensive crisis could pave the way to a move for Valencia and Germany defender Shkodran Mustafi after it emerged that Per Mertesacker will not play again this year.

Mertesacker – the recently-appointed Arsenal captain following Mikel Arteta’s departure – suffered a knee injury that required surgery to correct, with the operation being carried out on Tuesday in Germany. With Laurent Koscielny still on holiday following Euro 2016 and Gabriel Paulista left out of Arsenal’s pre-season tour due to tonsillitis, the Gunners are desperately short on options at the back.

21-year-old Calum Chambers could partner new signing Rob Holding when Arsenal take on the MLS All-Stars on Thursday night, although Wenger did experiment in training with defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin deployed at centre-back and both Mathieu Debuchy and Nacho Monreal able to move inside from their natural full-back roles.

However, reports in Spain suggest that a move for Mustafi is on the cards after Valencia put the German international up for sale for £20.9m, and Wenger’s admission on Wednesday that the club are in for an experienced defender suggest he will make further moves in the transfer market to strengthen his back line.

"We have to look for an option to get a bit more experience," Wenger told on Wednesday.

"We will see some of our young centre backs on Thursday as well. With Per being out, we are a bit short on the experience front and we are looking to bring somebody in."

Spanish newspaper Cadena Cope claim that Valencia are willing to part with Mustafi – who is also due back from holiday in the next few days after representing Germany at Euro 2016. Mustafi has spent the last two years with Valencia after leaving Sampdoria in Italy, and spent three years with Everton after joining their academy from Hamburg back in 2009, with the 24-year-old making 12 appearances for Germany to-date.

Finally, Arsenal’s pursuit of Inter Milan forward Mauro Icardi appears to be over after the Italian club’s president insisted “we’re not going to sell Icardi”. Arsenal held preliminary talks with Icardi’s agent and wife, Wanda Nara, after being identified as a possible alternative when it emerged that Napoli were not going to budge over their £75m asking price for Gonzalo Higuain.

With Higuain subsequently joining Juventus after his release clause was activated, Napoli have turned their attentions to Icardi, but Inter president Erick Thohir insists the 23-year-old club captain is going nowhere.

"We're not going to sell Icardi. We've received offers - from Napoli too - but we're not going to sell him,” Thohir told Inter Channel.

"We extended his contract a year ago. We're like a family and we can always talk if there are problems or discuss what we'd like to achieve together in future.

"He's our captain and an important player for us. We're very happy with him."

Independent News Service

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