After days of whispers about Arsenal’s interest in Lyon Striker Alexandre Lacazette, we were finally handed something concrete yesterday.
Lyon released a statement to rebuke stories in the French sporting press that Arsenal had lodged a bid in the region of £40 million, and that a bid of £29.3 million had been received.
Arsenal supporters subsequently lost their minds on Twitter as a result, jumping at the chance to accuse Arsene Wenger of ‘messing around’ with substandard bids.
In fact, we know very little about the timing of this bid. For example, it is possible it was made as far back as May, even before Arsenal’s move for Jamie Vardy.
For all the talk that Arsenal had been dealt a blow by Lyon’s statement, with the French club labelling Lacazette ‘irreplaceable’, it is believed that £40 million plus bonuses would be enough for Arsenal to land the player.
If Arsenal are reticent to stump up, it is not because they are ‘tight’, but because Wenger isn’t completely convinced by Lacazette. Had he been his first choice target, he would be an Arsenal player by now, possibly even signed last summer. Wenger did not make a move for him then, but has now focused his attentions on Lacazette due to a lack of viable alternatives.
Elsewhere, with the news confirmed that Per Mertesacker faces several months out with a knee injury stories are emerging that Arsenal will buy a replacement.
Yesterday, this column highlighted Arsenal’s interest in Shkodran Mustafi, but this morning the Daily Express are linking the Gunners with FC Basel defender Fabian Schär.
The Swiss defender has been on Arsenal’s radar in the past, and is an international team-mate of new singing Granit Xhaka.
The loss of Mertesacker is a concern for Wenger, for the towering German’s experience and calm authority is often badly missed when he does not play.
Nevertheless, Arsenal still have four centre-backs at the club in the form of Laurent Koscielny, Gabriel, Calum Chambers and new singing Rob Holding.
However, if the plan was to loan out one or both of Chambers and Holding, then a new body will have to be brought in to allow Wenger to do this.
Finally, Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has slightly back tracked on comments made in an ESPN interview last week.
Speaking to the New York Times, he said: “We’re still active in the market, as are most other clubs, and if we find opportunities that our manager believes can improve our squad and add something to it, we’re certainly going to take those steps.”
Those words will be more encouraging to the Arsenal fans beleaguered by the summer, and the final month of the window will be frantic.
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