Premier League • England

Lacazette exit agreed with next club named, as Arsenal get final push to secure new striker

Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette

Alexandre Lacazette has been convinced over a return to Lyon after dropping a key demand and giving the green light to a significant pay-cut, per a report.

That is the news coming out of France, with L’Equipe reporting the 31-year-old is poised to return to Lyon. Lacazette is out of contract this summer and looks certain to depart north London.

The Frenchman performed admirably with Arsenal last season with his interplay helping to bring out the best from Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka and co. mid-season. Yet his four league goals from 30 appearances was not the type of return Arsenal needed to fire them to fourth spot.

Eddie Nketiah usurped the veteran striker down the stretch and it appears the younger forward is the one in line for a new deal.

Atletico Madrid were named as a contender to snap up Lacazette on a free. However, a return to France with either Lyon or Rennes always appeared the likelier prospect.

And per L’Equipe, that’s exactly what is about to transpire.

Lacazette drops European demand

They state Lyon have ‘convinced’ their former striker to return to the club after five years in north London. The outlet described an announcement as being ‘imminent’.

GetFrenchFootballNews also pick up the story, adding contacts between Lyon and Lacazette were first opened in winter when the player entered the last six months of his contract. That allowed him to speak to overseas clubs regarding a summer switch.

Lacazette was previously reported to harbour doubts over a move if Lyon failed to qualify for Europe. Lyon did indeed miss out, though Lacazette has now reportedly dropped that demand.

Furthermore, it’s claimed he’ll take around a 50 percent pay-cut to return to his boyhood club. While it’s acknowledged some of that deficit will be offset by a sign-on bonus, it is still a hefty downgrade.

Arsenal striker need grows

The Gunners tried to land Dusan Vlahovic as the Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang successor in January. Aubameyang did leave, though Vlahovic would go on to join Juventus.

With Lacazette now close to returning to Lyon, Arsenal can not afford to fire another blank this time round.

Nketiah showed he will score when given regular minutes. But with Tottenham getting their act together under Antonio Conte and Chelsea’s takeover now completed, Arsenal face an uphill struggle to break into the top four next season. Man City and Liverpool’s presence in the Champions League spots is a given.

As such, Lacazette’s impending exit will give Arsenal added incentive to bring new strikers on board. The likes of Everton pair Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison, Alvaro Morata, Darwin Nunez and Paulo Dybala have all been linked.

However, perhaps the name most guaranteed to make an impact at the Emirates is Gabriel Jesus.

Arsenal have been heavily linked with the Brazilian and Jesus is Premier League-proven. With Lacazette going, Edu, Mikel Arteta and co. will be emboldened to bring their No 1 striker target on board at all costs.