Lyon chief Jean-Michel Aulas has warned Arsenal they will have to match Atletico Madrid’s £57million bid if they are to land Alexandre Lacazette this summer.
Aulas has made it clear that Lyon are in no rush to offload the France forward, who almost joined Atletico before they were handed a transfer ban.
Aulas has admitted that he and general manager Gerard Houllier met Arsene Wenger during England’s 3-2 defeat to France in Paris earlier this month. And he suggested that Wenger had indicated he “could” be interested in the 25-year-old forward.
Speaking to L’Equipe, Aulas said: “I do not intend to cede Alexandre [Lacazette] quickly, because there is always the will of Atletico Madrid to bring it [the transfer] to January 1.
“Now I also listen to what Alexandre says. I saw Arsene [Wenger] during the France versus England match.
“I was with Gerard Houllier and I understand that he told Gerard that there could be interest from Arsenal.
“But it’s premature to say that things will happen. It takes a very large transfer before. A player of that quality cannot be allowed to leave without having his replacement.
“It will have to be at least that [£57m].
“Everyone knows that the offer of Atletico is €53m [£46.5m] plus €12M [£10.5m]. That’s €65m [£57m].
“As the leaders of Arsenal are well informed, they will be in those waters.
“The prices for a player who marks every year with between 25 and 30 goals, sometimes more than 30, is at least that.
“But frankly, I have not thought about Arsenal for the moment, because I thought that Alexandre would stay because of the failure, initially, with the Atletico Madrid move.”
Atletico’s transfer ban will be lifted in January 2018 and Lyon could well wait until then to sell Lacazette, who is contracted to Lyon until June 2019.
Sky Sports reported on Saturday that Arsenal were set to open talks with Lacazette after Lyon reportedly accepted their £44m bid.
That appears to be vastly premature with their claims the player could fly into London for talks over the weekend and a medical this week – jumping the gun.