Lyon’s president Jean-Michel Aulas recently told reporters that the club is close to ending negotiations with Arsenal over the transfer of striker Alexandre Lacazette.
Aulas has made no secret that Lyon is willing to part with their top goalscorer for the right sum. In fact, judging by the Aulas’ disappointment at the breakdown of a recent deal with Atletico Madrid, it looks like the club is quite anxious to reap rewards of Lacazette’s best ever season.
And it is no secret that Arsenal have got plenty to prove in the new year and that they will need reinforcements if they are to do so. The club may have promised important changes to the team, but few of these changes have been visible during the summer break. It now seems that Wenger has made up his mind and will let Lyon name their price for Lacazette in an attempt to bring back the goal-scoring flair of the days when Thierry Henry wore the Arsenal jersey.
However, Aulas says that initial reports of the fee involved in the transfer may have been exaggerated by the media. That is not to say that Arsenal will not be comfortable with adding a few extra millions to their initial fee to ensure they have the striker available for the pre-season preparations.
“The figure reported by the English media of around €67m [including €12m in add-ons] is impossible and not realistic,” Aulas tells reporters at Le Progres. “Arsenal’s first offer was around €45m, the transfer will be concluded in the range of €45m to €50m.”
Whatever the final fee, Aulas says we can expect it to represent a transfer record for the Gunners, a team known to be very weary about spending big sums of money on new players. Arsenal’s previous record was the move to London from Madrid of Mesut Ozil for the €44m back in 2013.
“Being close to €50m is something unique and will probably be a record for Arsenal and Lyon as well. Knowing that, traditionally, a club like Arsenal – and this is the case for Bayern Munich also – don’t invest so much on a player.”
Clearly, Lyon is a team that knows the value (sports-wise and monetarily) of a good striker. And Arsenal is coming around to recognising this as well. Lacazette has scored upwards of 20 goals in his last three seasons at Lyon, his last being his career best, with 28 goals in Ligue 1 and 37 in all competitions. With confidence riding high, the player also seems ready to take on a new challenge.