The agent of Alexandre Lacazette says the Lyon star could stay with his current club, amid rumours Arsenal and West Ham United are keen to bring the forward to the Premier League during the summer transfer window.
Per L'Equipe (h/t Metro.co.uk's Mark Brus), both the Hammers and Gunners have been heavily linked with a move for the France International, and West Ham are reportedly willing to spend up to £31 million on the 24-year-old.
But his representative David Venditelli has now told L'Equipe (h/t ESPN FC's Mark Rodden) a switch to the Premier League is not a foregone conclusion:
For the moment we're thinking that Alex will still be a Lyon player next season.
In any case, we'll discuss it in good time with [Lyon president] Jean-Michel Aulas.
We both have enough experience to know what we should do in the interest of Alex and the club.
Per the report, Lacazette has already said he's open to playing in the Premier League, and with Lyon sitting in fifth place in the Ligue 1 standings—a spot that wouldn't lead to UEFA Champions League football next season—a summer switch is a realistic possibility.
Lacazette was the star of last year's Ligue 1 campaign, and while he suffered through a slow start in 2015-16, he has turned things around in the second half of the season. Per WhoScored.com, he has scored 13 goals in 26 starts so far.
Here's a look at some of his highlights:
Lacazette is a strong, mobile forward who does his best work in space and is a terror on the counter-attack. He also has strong instincts and is a natural finisher—those are traits that should come in handy if he moves to the Premier League, where space will be limited compared to the French league.
Like Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, Lacazette isn't an overly physical forward who loves to engage defenders, but his solid dribbling skills and his vision allow him to avoid physical battles unless they are necessary.
The Frenchman is a remarkable talent, but it's important not to get blown away by his scoring numbers in the 2014-15 campaign, when he bagged an impressive 27 goals in Ligue 1, per WhoScored.com. That was the kind of season most players have once in a lifetime and one he likely won't have again.
Lacazette is good, but he's not the world-class forward fans looking for attacking help might make him out to be. Per FourFourTwo's Andrew Gibney, he didn't even make France's national team for their upcoming friendlies, and he might not even go to UEFA Euro 2016, unless his current scoring form holds up:
Andrew Gibney @Gibney_A
Kante makes it in. Sissoko...somehow. Payet in, but no Lacazette. https://t.co/frewtoEZNg2016-3-17 13:04:24
That's not to say Arsenal shouldn't try to add Lacazette during the summer, but Lyon will be eager to keep hold of their top stars, and the £31 million West Ham are reportedly willing to offer might not even be enough.
That's a lot of money for a player whose value was inflated by one phenomenal season but who has yet to prove he can score at the same impressive rate against tougher defences.
Gunners Reportedly Talking to Anthony Koura
According to France Football (h/t the Daily Star's Jonathan Green), Arsenal have opened talks with Nimes forward Anthony Kouna, and a deal is said to be close. The 22-year-old has been one of the star breakout performers in Ligue 2 this season, and a host of clubs are said to be monitoring his progression.
Here's a look at what all the fuss is about:
As far as playing style goes, Koura is rather similar to the aforementioned Lacazette, although his price tag would be a lot lower―per L'Equipe (via Get French Football News), his contract expires at the end of the season.
It's hard to get too excited about a player who plies his trade in the second tier of French football, but as a free agent, Koura holds a lot of value. He might never make his mark at Premier League level but has the potential to surpass those expectations. For an investment of next to nothing, it's worth taking a gamble on the youngster.