“I am not speaking.” – a simple and clear message that Alexandre Lacazette sent out to reporters following Lyon’s Trophée des Champions loss to PSG.
The French striker is frustrated. Lyon have played hard-ball since the summer transfer window opened and it has ultimately cost Alexandre Lacazette a move to PSG, a deal that had been virtually pre-agreed between Lacazette and PSG since summer 2015.
Unai Emery’s appointment at the head of PSG changed everything. Laurent Blanc wanted Lacazette at all costs and Les Parisiens would have been willing to back the French coach with the €60m including bonuses but excluding incentives package that would have forced Lyon President Jean Michel Aulas to sell the player.
Lacazette was of course hauled off at half-time on the weekend for a hip problem which Lyon claim will keep the player out for around three weeks. A convenient timeframe given the dates of this transfer window.
In actual fact, the injury although genuine is not as serious, and the French striker is expected to be back in action within the next 10 days, if not earlier.
With PSG out of the race, the other club that has shown serious intent this summer besides West Ham United and Napoli are Arsenal.
After seeing an initial offer rejected for the player, which Lyon made public, the Gunners have accelerated their pursuit for the Frenchman.
Sky Sports are accurate when they say that talks are ongoing between Lyon and Arsenal presently.
The Gunners have not tabled a second formal bid – instead they are now also talking directly with Lyon, as opposed to their previous exclusive form of communication which had been through intermediaries. Now there is an element of both.
Arsenal appear to be seeking counsel from Lyon regarding what sort of fee it would take for the player to depart.
They are not understood to have received a definitive answer. OL have no intention of selling their player and will only do so if the offer is simply to good to refuse or if Lacazette forces their hand.
Neither scenario has yet presented itself. Arsenal appeared to be set to table a second formal offer at the beginning of this week, but Lacazette’s hip problem has forced them to reconsider.
The benchmark number in this deal is €60m. It is up to Arsenal to hit that and then some if they are to have any chance.
Lyon in the meantime are preparing to formally offer Alexandre Lacazette a new contract with a salary that could be set to make him the highest paid player in Lyon history, with bonuses taken into account.
Arsenal remain in active contact with the the player’s representatives.
In this scenario, all three parties’s intentions are clear, but they contradict. Stalemate.