Lyon have completed the €8m (£7m, $9.1m) signing of Real Madrid striker Mariano Diaz, potentially paving the way for Alexandre Lacazette to seal a summer move to Arsenal. The Spanish-born Dominican, 23, has put pen to paper on a five-year contract at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais and was officially presented as an OL player at a press conference held on Friday afternoon (30 June).
With the Ligue 1 outfit having already acquired Bertrand Traore from Chelsea following his impressive loan spell with Ajax, the capture of Mariano is being widely viewed as a potentially critical boost in Arsenal's pursuit of long-term target Lacazette.
The Gunners saw an initial £44m offer for the wantaway French international rejected earlier this month, with Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas insisting that they would effectively need to match an earlier bid from Atletico Madrid totalling £57m.
Lacazette had reached a verbal agreement to move to the Spanish capital, only for the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) to uphold Los Colchoneros' Fifa transfer ban.
Negotiations between the two parties have continued and the BBC now report that Arsenal are close to agreeing a club-record deal to sign Lacazette, who has scored 127 goals in 274 appearances for Lyon since graduating from their academy.
Speaking at Mariano's unveiling, Aulas, who earlier this week expressed a belief that Lacazette would stay put during the forthcoming transfer window, said that an agreement with the Gunners had yet to be reached.
"The moment hasn't come to reach an agreement with Arsenal under current conditions (offered)," he said, as per Lyon's official Twitter account.
Aulas has previously suggested that Lyon would only be willing to sell Lacazette after securing an adequate replacement, stating that the 26-year-old's successor would be a "player capable of scoring 25 to 30 goals per year" and either a "French international or a player of a very large European club".
Mariano certainly fits the latter criteria, although was only a fringe player for Real Madrid and it remains to be seen if he will be christened as Lacazette's long-term replacement. Many thought that aforementioned statement actually hinted strongly at a possible move for Arsenal's Olivier Giroud, who has been firmly on Lyon's radar as well as that of West Ham United.
Reports that Lyon and Arsenal had engaged in talks over a possible part-exchange deal involving the two French strikers were firmly dismissed by Aulas.
"We have never discussed an exchange with Arsenal for Olivier Giroud with Alexandre Lacazette," he added.