Arsenal are hoping to have Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette in a red and white shirt in time for their opening Premier League game against Liverpool, according to the Daily Mail.
The report says Arsene Wenger wants to get the French striker on board "as quickly as possible" as he ramps up his transfer activity ahead of the new campaign. A new goalscorer appears to have been a priority for the Arsenal manager this summer, who failed in a bid to bring Leicester City star Jamie Vardy to the club.
Lacazette would come with a similar amount of pedigree but, as the Gunners found out last week, will cost significantly more than the £22million they could have got Vardy for.
Indeed, Arsenal's £31.8m bid was flat out rejected by the Ligue 1 outfit with president Jean-Michel Aulas seemingly determined to keep the 25-year-old at the club.
However, there is a firm belief that Arsenal can land Lacazette for a fee of just over £40m. That could potentially make him the most expensive player in the club's history but the Premier League is a lot richer than it was when Mesut Ozil joined for £42m in 2013.
It seems Wenger is willing to break the £40m barrier again and is keen to get Lacazette signed in time to face Jurgen Klopp's men on August 14. If he fails, Theo Walcott will probably be given the go-ahead to start up front.
Options are limited for Wenger going into the campaign. Olivier Giroud is still on holiday following his Euro 2016 exploits while Danny Welbeck is going to be out until 2017 with a knee injury. Lacazette wasn't involved in France so could potentially go straight into the starting line-up if he does join.
But Wenger is also looking to sign a new centre-back, where his problems are even more profound. Per Mertesacker was recently ruled out for up to five months while Laurent Koscielny is in a similar situation to Giroud. Gabriel is out injured, leaving Calum Chambers and rookie Rob Holding as the club's only fit defenders.
Wenger has already confirmed he is searching for an experienced defender and links with Valencia's Shkodran Mustafi appear to have some substance. With a release clause of £42.1m, any deal for the Germany international is going to be complex.
While they may not have to pay the full amount to sign him, Arsenal are still looking at a deal worth in excess of £30m.
Needless to say, Wenger has been left with a lot of work to do in the next two weeks.
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