Arsenal’s 2016/17 campaign ended with the club finishing outside the top 4, and a primary reason for the same was the lack of firepower upfront, with there being a significant overreliance on Alexis Sanchez.
The summer transfer window represents a good time for the club to remedy the problems of the previous season and strengthen the squad further. So far Arsenal have only recruited Sead Kolasinac, acquiring the Bosnian on a free transfer.
The club, however, has been linked with a variety of strikers, notably Kylian Mbappe and Alexandre Lacazette.
Now, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has spoken about Arsenal’s interest in the striker and admitted that a deal could be struck if Arsenal match Lyon’s valuation.
“I do not have the intention of rapidly letting Alexandre go, because there is still a desire from Atletico Madrid to bring him in on the 1st of January ,” he told L’Equipe.
“Now, I will also be listening to what Alexandre has to say. I saw Arsene [Wenger], during the match between France and England. I was with Gerard Houllier [Lyon advisor] and I was led to be believed that he said to Gerard that there could be interest from Arsenal.
“But it is premature to say that a deal will be done. The first thing that needs to happen is that we have to do a very big deal before. We cannot let a player of his quality leave without having a replacement for him.”
Asked whether Lyon would accept an offer of between €50m and €60m from Arsenal, he replied: “It will have to be at the very least that. Everyone knows that the offer from Atletico is €53m plus €12m in bonuses. That is €65m.
“As the Arsenal representatives have been told, a deal would occur around there. The price for a player who scores between 25 and 30 goals every year is at the very least that.
“But honestly, I have not yet considered Arsenal for the moment, because I thought that Alexandre would stay after his failed departure to Atletico Madrid.”
Aulas also admitted that Lyon were interested in Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud which could strengthen the Premier League club’s chances of landing the player.
“There has been an approach, at some point, for Giroud,” Aulas said. “He is a boy that we like, who scores lots of goals and who has a lot of ambition for [the 2018 World Cup in] Russia.
“He told me personally that he wanted to take his time, that things were not completely defined with Arsenal, that he had a secret hope that he would be the No one striker next season. The key is Arsene Wenger. We are watching.”
If we just sign Lacazette, it’s clear our intention is to get back into the top four. If we sign Lacazette and Mbappe, it’s the league #AFC
— Renato (@th14Renato) June 25, 2017
A swap for the two strikers could be a likely possibility. However, Arsenal will still have to shell out a significant chunk of money to land Lacazette. They shouldn’t be shy of doing that considering the Frenchman scored a career-best 37 goals across all competitions last season.
Lacazette would considerably strengthen the Arsenal team and add firepower to the squad as Wenger looks to answer the criticism he has faced in recent months by delivering the much-awaited Premier League trophy.