Arsenal's long-running pursuit of Alexandre Lacazette appears to have taken yet another twist, with Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas stating that he does not believe the prolific striker will leave the club this summer.
The Gunners failed with a bid for Lacazette last year and such interest has since been revived after Atletico Madrid, with whom the player reached a verbal agreement in May, saw their transfer ban upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).
It was reported last week that Arsenal had submitted a new club-record bid of £44m for the French international, although Aulas subsequently claimed they would have to pay at least €50m-€60m while reiterating that Los Colchoneros' offer was worth a total of €65m (£57.6m).
With new addition Bertrand Traore evidently not considered as Lacazette's successor, Aulas has been keen to stress that they will keep their most prized asset until they can find a suitable replacement.
He also said that the 26-year-old, who has scored 127 goals in 274 appearances for Lyon since graduating from the club's academy, wants to leave and that "offers will be heard, provided they match the value of the player".
However, speaking again to Canal Plus on Tuesday evening (27 June), Aulas claimed that he could not see Lacazette departing the Parc Olympique Lyonnais just yet.
"I do not think that Alexandre Lacazette will leave this summer," he said.
Lyon have previously expressed an interest in West Ham United target Olivier Giroud, which led to predictable rumours regarding a possible part-exchange deal with Arsenal. However, Aulas has said that he thinks the former Montpellier forward will stay at the Emirates Stadium and insists OL do not want to "stockpile" forwards.
Providing an update on Giroud, he said: "I do not have anything to say about Olivier Giroud. We're interested. Things haven't advanced."
Along with Giroud, Lyon have been heavily linked with a swoop for Real Madrid forward Mariano Diaz. Shedding more light on those negotiations during an interview with L'Equipe, Aulas said the Ligue 1 outfit were eager for a permanent deal and would prioritise that particular transfer after receiving positive reports from both Zinedine Zidane and Karim Benzema.
"It's a transfer. We're studying both solutions, but we're looking more at a transfer," he said. "We have been following him for some time. We have heard good things from Karim. We also have good allies with [Real] president Florentino Perez, who I know well, and the all-powerful coach [Zidane], who has also told us good things.
"If we have the means to do it, it's a priority for OL."