Lyon have moved to publicly clarify the situation regarding Arsenal's protracted pursuit of in-demand asset Alexandre Lacazette. The Gunners are being persistently linked with a move for a striker who finished second only to Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the domestic scoring charts last season and it has now been confirmed that the seven-time French champions have already rejected an offer worth €35m (£29.3m, $38.4m) for his services.
Fresh reports that surfaced in regional daily newspaper Le Progres this morning (26 July) suggested that such a bid had now been upped to €48m, although a fuming Lyon insisted those claims were inaccurate. They also intended to keep hold of their key talent having already lost impressive young centre-back Samuel Umtiti to Barcelona last month.
In an official rebuke released via their official Twitter account on Tuesday morning, Lyon stated: "Olympique Lyonnais denies categorically having received a €48m offer from Arsenal for the transfer of Alexandre Lacazette as Le Progres stated in its issue this morning. The club regrets once again that the publication has not bothered to contact us before publishing the false information which creates confusion on the day we publish annual turnover of £183m, up 111% compared to 2014/2015.
"The reality is that the Arsenal made an offer of €35m which Olympique Lyonnais did not respond to for one reason only: OL wants to keep Alexandre Lacazette because he is irreplaceable and one of the major leaders of Bruno Genesio's group."
Lacazette's 27 league goals in 2014/15 were the most netted by any Lyon player in the history of French top-flight football and he was recognised for that achievement by ending Ibrahimovic's run of successive player of the year awards. The France international, who was only named on the reserve list for beaten finalists Les Bleus at Euro 2016 despite the absence of Karim Benzema as Didier Deschamps opted for a forward group of Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Anthony Martial and Andre-Pierre Gignac, followed up that success by netting 23 times in all competitions last term as his side rallied to overhaul AS Monaco and finish as runners-up to dominant Paris Saint-Germain for the second year in a row.
As confirmed by Opta, he has scored 63 times in Ligue 1 over the past three seasons and 15 of his 21 strikes in that competition last season came after the festive period. It remains to be seen if Arsenal can strike a deal to sign the prolific 25-year-old, although the public nature of negotiations is likely to intensely irritate Arsene Wenger as the pressure increases to add to his transfer haul of Granit Xhaka, Takuma Asano and Rob Holding. Leicester City talisman Jamie Vardy has already snubbed a move to the Emirates Stadium so far this summer.