Arsenal have failed with a £74million bid for two of their priority transfer targets, Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette and Monaco winger Thomas Lemar.
Having finished outside the top-four in the Premier League for the first time since 1995-96 last season, Arsene Wenger is determined to add more quality to his squad during the summer. He has been told he has cash to spend, and although this is thought to have been the case for many a transfer window, the signs are he is willing to break the club’s transfer record in the coming weeks.
But his first attempt to do so, to land Lacazette, has resulted in failure. Wenger was prepared to pay £44million for the 26-year-old, a fee which exceeds the £42.5million paid to Real Madrid for Mesut Ozil in 2013, but Lyon deem this insufficient. Although he has just two years left on his contract, the Ligue 1 side want an initial £49million for the striker, plus potential add-ons.
It remains to be seen if the FA Cup holders will return with an improved bid, and even if they did, it would still be a more affordable deal than trying to persuade Monaco to part with Kylian Mbappe. The 18-year-old is the hottest property in world football at the moment, and despite Wenger’s interest, Real Madrid are in pole position to sign him for as much as £135million.
A more immediate target for Arsenal is another player from the French champions, winger Lemar. Despite the Daily Mail claiming the Gunners were closing in on signing him for £30million, latest reports claim this offer has actually been rejected. Having already sold Bernardo Silva to Manchester City, the Stade Louis II club are in a position of strength with regards to the 21-year-old.
So it has been a frustrating summer for Wenger as he chases the France international trio, but it could yet get worse as reports grow that City are confident of luring Alexis Sanchez north. The Chile international is down to the final 12 months of his contract at the Emirates Stadium, and Pep Guardiola has made him his number one priority signing ahead of the new season.