Arsenal interested in highly rated forward as Alexandre Lacazette replacement

Arsenal target Sardar Azmoun

Arsenal are plotting a move for a 26-year-old Champions League-level striker as they plan for Alexandre Lacazette’s departure, according to reports.

Lacazette is wanted by a number of European teams with his contract at the Emirates running down. It expires in June, meaning clubs can finalise a pre-contract agreement with the centre-forward as early as January.

Atletico Madrid are long-term admirers of the Frenchman. They tried to sign him from Lyon back in 2017 but were beaten to his signature by Arsenal.

Italian sides Juventus and AC Milan have also been linked. Juve are yet to replace Cristiano Ronaldo after the Portuguese’s return to Manchester United this summer.

Milan, meanwhile, are anticipating Zlatan Ibrahimovic to retire in the next few years. Lacazette could be taken to the San Siro as his successor up front.

While Lacazette appears to be moving closer to an Arsenal exit, club chiefs are busy working on who will take his place in Mikel Arteta’s side.

French outlet Onze Mondial now provide a report on the striker search. They claim that Arsenal are interested in Zenit St Petersburg’s Sardar Azmoum.

He is an Iranian international with a keen eye for goal. Azmoun managed 19 strikes in 24 matches last season as Zenit lifted the Russian league title.

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In total, his record for Zenit stands at an impressive 58 goals in 95 appearances. Onze Mondial write that Azmoun has ‘caught the eye’ of Arsenal scouts recently.

They are not the first Premier League side to be linked with his services. Azmoun revealed last month that he had rejected Tottenham during the summer.

On a potential transfer, he said: “I never said that I was leaving Zenit. The media wrote that I was undergoing a medical examination and agreed on everything with a certain team.

“I have a contract, even if I wanted to leave, the club will not allow it. It was the media that sent me to another team.

“I had offers from Lyon, Roma, Bayer [Leverkusen] and Tottenham. But all the proposals were rejected, this year I will not move anywhere.”

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Pundit praises Ramsdale in Leno comparison

Aaron Ramsdale arrived at the Emirates this summer in a deal worth up to £30m. He will compete with Bernd Leno for the number one shirt.

Ramsdale has impressed during his five appearances so far this season. The 23-year-old has kept clean sheets against Burnley and Brighton recently.

Giving his verdict on the keeper, pundit Kevin Campbell said: “This is the beautiful thing about football.

“At first, I didn’t pass judgement because I did not know enough about him. Instead, I went away and did my research. Others made preconceptions about him because he was relegated with a couple of clubs. It was held against him straight away.

“When people found out he was signing he received hate on social media. He had to turn off his messages and comments and this was before he had even signed for the football club. Straight away fans are on his back.

“There was a pre-conceived idea that he was not good enough for Arsenal. But let me tell you, that young man has impressed me. He’s been incredible.

“Not just his saves and his distribution but the way he commands his box. He is not afraid to give his defenders a rollicking. That is really important. I never saw [Bernd] Leno do it.

“You can see that he has a feeling for the club.”

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