Arsene Wenger is “privately resigned” to losing Alexis Sanchez in the summer transfer window, and has identified Alexandre Lacazette as an ideal replacement at Arsenal, reports The Mirror’s John Cross.
Lyon claimed it had spurned a €35-million (£30-million) bid from Arsenal last summer, but this time it could take a huge €70 million (£60 million) to prize him from the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region.
There could be tougher competition than West Ham United – which also apparently had an offer refused in that transfer window – to sign Lacazette this time around. Liverpool, the Gunners’ opponent in Saturday’s Premier League fixtures and a top-four rival, is also interested, but will have to offload Daniel Sturridge to free up funds.
If Antoine Griezmann leaves for Manchester United at the end of the season, Atletico Madrid could too join the race.
Lacazette, 25, is believed to be ready to entertain a move from his hometown club, where he made his professional debut under Claude Puel in 2010. His finishing and dribbling finesse have earned him plaudits outside of France over the past three seasons, which have seen him tally a huge 70 strikes in 89 Ligue 1 appearances.
(Photo courtesy: Reuters)
And Arsenal may be the most desperate party to land Lacazette due to the possibility of a considerable void left by Sanchez. The Chilean has grown in influence at the Emirates Stadium this season after showing his ferocity in a No. 9 role, but that has coincided with the forward cutting a frustrated figure as the club appears to be limping to another trophyless campaign.
Sanchez’s current terms expire in 2018, with Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain rumoured to be most keen in acquiring his services and potentially meeting his £250,000-a-week demands.
Sanchez’s involvement in Arsenal affairs has displeased some back in Chile, with a protest organised on Wednesday against him continuing employment in north London. Those voicing their displeasure totalled approximately five to eight people.
Related – Watch: Fewer than 10 people attend protest urging Sanchez to leave Arsenal
While serious doubts rest with Sanchez’s future, there is belief that Mesut Ozil, whose contract also expires in 2018, will eventually agree to a longer stay – although that may depend on whether Wenger stays beyond the current campaign.