Arsenal have switched targets to Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette after missing out on Jamie Vardy, with the Leicester striker snubbing a summer move to sign a four-year contract extension with Leicester City.
Reports suggest that Arsenal have entered the race for Lacazette after manager Arsene Wenger organised to meet with the France international’s agent, David Venditelli, later this week. The Arsenal boss is currently in France to work with Bein Sport as part of their Euro 2016 coverage, but he remains active in the transfer market after failing to sign England forward Vardy despite activating his previous release clause with a £20m offer.
Lacazette missed out on inclusion in Didier Deschamps’s France squad for Euro 2016 on home soil, despite scoring 23 goals in 43 appearances for Lyon last season, with Deschamps instead choosing to include Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud, Bayern Munich’s Kingsley Coman, Manchester United’s Anthony Martial and Andre-Pierre Giognac of Mexican side Tigres.
According to The Mirror, Wenger will meet with Venditelli next week, but the Gunners face competition from fellow Premier League side West Ham as well as Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid.
Lyon are unwilling to sell Lacazette for anything less than £45m, and with the 25-year-old having three years remaining on his current contract, the Ligue 1 side will not be forced to sell unless they are happy with the deal offered. Lyon are already poised for a large financial boost after they reportedly agreed to sell defender Samuel Umtiti to Barcelona in a £21.5m deal that could be announced in the coming weeks.
Every Arsenal striker signed since Thierry Henry
2000/01: Francis Jeffers – Everton – £8m
‘Fox in the box’ Jeffers was the most exciting young England striker going thanks to an impressive goal return after breaking through at Everton. However his time at Arsenal was dreadful due to a combination of injuries and competition for places and in 2003 he returned to Everton on loan having scored just four league goals.
2000/01: Sylvain Wiltord – Bordeux – £13m
Best remembered for scoring the winning goal at Old Trafford that secured Arsenal the 2001/02 Premier League title against Manchester United. The Euro 2000 winner scored at a decent rate for the Gunners but perhaps not as regularly as his price tag meant he should have.
2002 Getty Images
2003/04: Robin van Persie – Feyenoord – £2.75m
Having not signed a striker across the previous two summers, Wenger finally returned to the market to sign a relatively unknown Dutchman called Robin van Persie. He would turn out to be one of the most exciting strikers to ever play for Arsenal – but only when he wasn’t injured (which was far too much of the time). In eight Premier League campaigns he amassed 96 goals (48 in his final two seasons) before leaving for Manchester United.
2012 The Arsenal Football Club Plc
2003/04: Jose Reyes – Seville – £10.5m
Reyes was one of the most expensive signings in the club’s history when he arrived in the January window but while undoubtedly talented he proved frustratingly inconsistent. His greatest contribution was the role he played in Arsenal’s run to the 2006 Champions League final, while his lowest point was getting sent off in the 2005 FA Cup final. Having scored 16 goals in 69 Premier League appearances Reyes moved to Real Madrid on loan amid reports of him feeling homesick.
2005/06: Emmanuel Adebayor – Monaco – £7m
Wenger went a year without signing a striker before collecting a few in one season. Among those arriving for the 2005/06 season was Adebayor. Arsenal fans can’t stand him now due to the manner of his departure for Manchester City but they can’t deny that the Togo international was one of their better recent strikers. Having arrived in the January window he scored on his debut and amassed 46 goals in 104 Premier League appearances.
2005/06: Theo Walcott – Southampton – £7m
Walcott also arrived in that January window and remains at the club to this day. The England international was just 16 when he joined from Southampton. His pace has provided thrills but his ability in front of goal has been a constant frustration with him reaching double figures in the Premier League just once.
2005/06: Nicklas Bendtner – FC Copenhagen
Bendtner would become something of a cult figure at Arsenal but that owed more to his unrelenting self-confidence rather than his ability in front of goal. What was most remarkable about the Dane’s ego was that Wenger seemed to think it was warranted, despite little evidence to suggest it was. There were 108 league appearances, 24 Premier League goals and three loan spells before Bendtner finally left Arsenal for Wolfsburg in 2014.
2005/06: Carlos Vela – Guadalajara – £550,000
After impressing in Mexico, Vela was linked with various European clubs before Arsenal secured his signature. However due to work permit issues he only started playing for the Gunners a couple of years later. Vela wasn’t worth the wait. He scored just 11 goals for the club in all competitions before departing.
2006/07: Eduardo – Dinamo Zagreb
Eduardo’s most notable moment was the leg break he suffered against Birmingham that derailed Arsenal’s 2008/09 Premier League campaign. Probably not how a striker would like to be best remembered. Scored just six goals for the club across three seasons before leaving for Shakhtar Dontesk.
2009 Getty Images
2009/10: Marouane Chamakh – Bordeux – free
Arsenal went two summers without signing a striker before Chamakh arrived to answer the prayers of the Arsenal fans. Having been linked with the club for a while, the Frenchman eventually pitched up on a free transfer. For most Gooners, that was still too expensive. Things never got better for Chamakh than a couple of goals in his opening few games. Two years after joining he was sent on loan to West Ham and his Arsenal career ended with 14 goals to his name in 67 appearances.
2010 Getty Images
2011/12: Gervinho – Lille – £10.5m
Wenger opted not to sign another striker for two years and when he did he brought Gervinho to the club from Lille. Things didn’t start well for the Ivorian, who was sent off on his debut against Newcastle. And they never got much better. A total of 11 goals in 63 appearances was recorded before he departed for Roma just two years after arriving.
2013 The Arsenal Football Club Plc
2011/12: Joel Campbell – Saprissa
After an impressive World Cup with Costa Rica in 2014, Wenger decided to finally give Campbell a chance following three different loan spells. But then the Arsenal manager loaned him to Villarreal for the second half of the 2014/15 campaign. 2015/16 was Campbell’s first full campaign at the Emirates but he’ll have to improve on his return of three goals in 19 Premier League games if he wants many more.
2016 The Arsenal Football Club Plc
2011/12: Park Chu-Young – Monaco
Handed the Arsenal number 9 shirt, there were understandably high hopes for the Korean. They were clearly misplaced, which is perhaps why he was reassigned the number 30 shirt a year later. Chu-Young would spend three years on Arsenal’s books, play seven games and score one goal. In the League Cup.
2011 Getty Images
2012/13: Lukas Podolski – Cologne – £11m
Wenger moved for a much better known player the following summer with the signing of Podolski. The German was a goal machine at international level and it was hoped he’d convert that to the club stage with Arsenal. He did okay, scoring 31 goals in 82 appearances over his three years at the club, but Wenger never seemed to be his greatest fan which meant his appearances were restricted.
2014 Getty Images
2012/13: Olivier Giroud – Montpellier – £13m
France international Giroud has been Arsenal’s most consistent scorer since Adebayor, reaching double figures in the Premier League in all four seasons he has spent at the club. However his no-frills style of play have failed to endear him to supporters.
2016 Getty Images
2013/14: Yaya Sanogo – Auxerre – free
Now aged 23, Sanogo has shown glimpses of his talent but is yet to become a regular goalscorer.
2014 Getty Images
2014/15: Alexis Sanchez – Barcelona – £30m
Sanchez was something of a scalp for Arsenal when he arrived from Barcelona and the Chilean has not only justified his price-tag but made it look a bargain by becoming Arsenal’s best player.
2016 Getty Images
2014/15: Danny Welbeck – Manchester United – £16m
Another scalp was that of Welbeck, snatched away from Old Trafford despite the protestations of fans and former players who thought Manchester United were wrong to let one of their youth products depart so easily. There is a feeling the England international doesn’t score quite enough goals, but his contribution in unquestionable. The more serious issue is his woeful injury record.
2016 The Arsenal Football Club Plc
Venditelli has not ruled out the chance of Lacazette remaining at Lyon for another season, having spoken earlier in the season to stress that his future will not be resolved until August when talks are held with the Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas.
“For the moment we’re thinking that Alex will still be a Lyon player next season,” Venditelli told French newspaper L’Equipe back in March.
“In any case, we’ll discuss it in good time with Jean-Michel Aulas.
“We both have enough experience to know what we should do in the interest of Alex and the club.”