Arsenal and Liverpool have been told they forget about any plans to sign in-form Alexandre Lacazette and will not have a chance to sign him for at least another two years, as he is not for sale at the moment.
This is because the owner of his club, Lyon, wants to build a new generation at the club and see Lacazette as one of the marquee names to bring success back to the club and will do so at a new stadium being built.
“Alexandre is not for sale. He is part of the generation of players we want to take to the new stadium. He will not be for sale and he will not leave,” Jean-Michel Aulas told beIN Sport.
The Daily Express are running with the quotes and have claimed in the past that both Arsene Wenger and Brendan Rodgers are very keen on the France international, who has been in fine form this season in Lyon’s push for the Ligue 1 title.
One previous report even suggested that officials from Anfield and the Emirates Stadium had held secret talks over a possible deal for the 23-year-old striker. Lacazette returned from nearly a month out injured at the weekend in Lyon’s 1-0 win over Nantes.
That victory kept them top of the Ligue 1 table and maintained the two-point advantage they currently have over reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain. Lacazette has been crucial in their title bid, as he is currently top scorer in the league with 21 goals from only 23 appearances.
New Era for Lyon?
Euro 2016 is being hosted by France and the club will be getting a new stadium out of it once the tournament is finished. They will be hoping that this can be the start of a return to previous glories, which saw them win seven consecutive titles throughout the last decade.
However, there have been barren years since their last title in 2008, which were brought about by serious financial problems. They have since been forced to rely a lot more on youth and have this season built a challenge around some very talented young players, such as Lacazette.
An Unnecessary Signing
While all top teams need to be constantly tweaking their squads in order to maintain success, the current state of Arsenal and Liverpool would suggest the signing of Lacazette would be a bit of a waste.
He is an athletic and versatile forward, able to play in a wide position as well as through the middle, but he is hardly the kind of box office signing that Rodgers or Wenger need to be making if they are to carry on their current ambitions of gate-crashing the top two of Chelsea and Manchester City.
It Wouldn't Match New Ambition
Arsenal have spent big money on Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in the previous two summers, a sign that greater financial power is about to take hold. Signing promising young stars from France should be a thing of the past, at least not when they’re having their first outstanding season at the age of 23.
When Lyon move to their new ground and play a season there with Lacazette as Aulas suggests, he will be approaching his 26th birthday. Perhaps it is just a bargaining manoeuvre from the president, but if the player is good enough for a move to a top club it’s happening before then.
Arsenal don’t need him though. Wenger has Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez, Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott and youngsters like Chuba Akpom or Yaya Sanogo to play up front. That’s plenty of talent – for the immediate and long-term future.
Rodgers Could Use Him
However, Liverpool are likely to need another attacking option come the summer. Daniel Sturridge can’t carry them on his own in the centre-forward position and it will be a shock if either, or both, of Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert are not shipped out.
Lacazette could find a place for himself at Anfield, but it’s still early days as to whether he is good enough. Half a good season in Ligue 1 is by no means a clear enough indicator as to whether a player can make the step up to the Premier League.
What do you think? Is Lacazette good enough for Arsenal or Liverpool? Do Lyon have any chance of holding on to him for two years if he keeps up this form? Let us know by joining the debate below…