Arsenal missed out on signing Alexandre Lacazette this summer, and the Lyon striker has now reportedly been offered a new contract set to include a whopping £59 million release clause. It could price the Gunners out of making a future bid for the attacker.
The French hotshot, 25, has been offered a new £85,000-a-week deal at the Ligue 1 giant.
The new contract includes a £59million release fee, meaning the Gunners would need to almost double the £30m bid they lodged this summer to land him in January, should he accept.
Lyon will be hoping the improved salary will tie down Lacazette to a new deal after he reportedly told the club he wished to leave during the summer.
The Gunners spent most of this summer's transfer window linked with Lacazette. Lyon even took to Twitter to reveal how they knocked back a £29.4 million bid from Arsenal, per Ben Nagle of MailOnline.
This led to reports the Gunners would return with an improved offer of £35 million, according to the Daily Telegraph's Jeremy Wilson. However, no deal was ever wrapped up for the fleet-footed French forward, despite Arsenal's obvious need for attacking reinforcements.
Lacazette did fit the bill as the type of striker Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger spent most of the summer window chasing. Specifically, the Gunners boss focused his efforts on signing a forward offering greater defence-stretching pace and more imaginative movement than target man Olivier Giroud.
It was a search that saw Jamie Vardy reject the Gunners to stay at Premier League champions Leicester City. It was also one that failed to yield Lacazette.
Eventually, Wenger settled on Spaniard Lucas Perez, a potential bargain at £17.1 million. Unless the former Deportivo La Coruna man flops in England's top flight, it seems unlikely that the veteran manager will go rushing back in for Lacazette.
It's doubly doubtful he'll bid again at the figures proposed by the new contract Lyon are offering Lacazette. If Wenger didn't feel inclined to raise his initial bid beyond the threshold of £30 million, why would he then pay nearly twice the price at a later date?
Lacazette would have to be at unheard-of levels of prolific in Ligue 1 this season—along with an epic goal drought at Arsenal—for that to happen. It's much more likely Wenger will continue to trust Giroud, Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott up top, while also hoping Perez quickly makes the grade and that Danny Welbeck returns from injury better than ever.
Giroud Told Moussa Sissoko to Choose Arsenal
Speaking of Giroud, he's admitted to telling Tottenham Hotspur new boy Moussa Sissoko to sign for Arsenal this summer. The striker told his international team-mate where his priorities should lie, per Colin Harvey of the Daily Star: "I told him to give Arsenal the priority."
Sissoko instead signed for north London rivals Spurs on transfer deadline day at a cost of £30 million. Giroud joked he's already wary about facing the midfield powerhouse: "In the Premier League, Tottenham are a rival, so I hope he doesn't play well against us!"
Ironically, Sissoko has never hidden his fond feelings for Tottenham's old enemy. In fact, he's more than once previously expressed a desire to play for the Gunners, per Metro's George Bellshaw: "Everyone knows, I have often said when I was young, my heart was Arsenal, because there were a lot of French players there."
Sissoko may have wanted to play for Arsenal, but it's uncertain where he would have fit in the Gunners squad. At his best, he's an attack-minded player who loves to take defenders on. It's a trait often used from the flanks, both for France and with former club Newcastle United.
Yet Wenger already has ample options for the wide berths. Players such as Sanchez, Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alex Iwobi all offer pace and skill on the wings.
Instead, Wenger would have likely seen Sissoko's physicality and drive in a central role. However, not even that would have helped the former Magpies man—not when Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny, Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey are already available.
Giroud may have wanted Sissoko to be an Arsenal player, but the signing would have made little sense.
By contrast, a deal for Lacazette would have fit as one potential answer to the question marks up front. Wenger has rolled the dice that trusting his eye for a bargain will prove more sensible than meeting Lyon's hefty demands.