Arsenal continue to wait while the future of Lyon midfielder Clement Grenier gets decided. The rising star would be a terrific addition for the Gunners as they look to upgrade their attack, but his status remains unclear.
The 22-year-old French international made a minor impact during his first three seasons with Lyon's senior squad. He broke out during the latter stages of last season, though. His improved form impressed Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger enough to pursue a move.
Ian Holyman of ESPN passed along comments Grenier made to two French outlets. The midfielder was happy to receive outside interest but admits he isn't completely sure what the future holds.
"I know Lyon have rejected an offer from Arsenal. Of course it's flattering that clubs are interested in me," Grenier told Le Parisien, having already said he is unsure where he will be playing next season.
"It's hard for me to talk about my future now because I'm not yet certain of it," he told RTL. "I prefer to wait to be 100 percent sure of what is going to happen before I do it."
Grenier is entering the final season of his current contract, which has helped fuel the transfer talk. But club owner and chairman Jean-Michel Aulas remains confident Lyon will be able to keep him for next season and potentially beyond, according to Pete O'Rourke of Sky Sports.
Until the situation plays itself out, Arsenal should continue to pursue Grenier. Even though Lyon are pushing for him to stay with the club, the Gunners must present themselves as a viable alternative should the midfielder decide to explore his options.
Grenier is coming off a campaign in which he scored seven goals and added nine assists in 33 appearances across Ligue 1 and Europa League play. He's a well-rounded midfielder with plenty of upside thanks to a combination of creativity and finishing ability.
At 22, his best seasons are yet to come, which is why Arsenal should be working hard to acquire him now. The chances are good that he will continue to shine in the coming years, meaning his price will only continue to rise.
Where will Grenier start next season?
Furthermore, the form he showcased last season suggests he's ready to make an immediate impact at the Emirates. Whether that would be as a starter, as a substitute or a combination of the two, there wouldn't be an extended wait before the signing pays off.
Over time, his role within the club would grow. There would likely be an initial transition period as Grenier became more accustomed to the Premier League style of play. Once he got comfortable, his rapid development would continue.
All told, these are the type of signings Arsenal need to make in order to keep pace with the top clubs in the league. Grenier would add to a young core that already features the likes of Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere. And they can grow together.
If a deal eventually gets done that keeps Grenier at Lyon, then Wenger and Co. can begin seeking other options. Until then, Arsenal should keep pushing to land the talented midfielder.