Lyon have confirmed they have made an approach for Olivier Giroud, the Arsenal striker, who could replace Alexandre Lacazette at the French club.
Lacazette looked to be on the verge of a move to Atletico Madrid this summer, before the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that the current Fifa-imposed transfer ban on the Spanish club will not be lifted. This means Diego Simone’s side cannot register any new players until the New Year, by which time their number one target could well have found another club.
Arsenal have taken advantage of Atletico’s plight by moving into pole position to land Lacazette, who is likely to cost a fee of around £44million. This would be a club record for the Emirates Stadium club, surpassing the £42.5million they paid Real Madrid for Mesut Ozil in 2013, and would be a statement of intent after the club failed to finish in the top-four of the Premier League.
Indeed, it promises to be a summer of intrigue for the FA Cup winners. As well as resolving the futures of both Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who are in the final 12 months of their contracts, a number of first team squad players also have uncertain futures. This includes Giroud, who admits he has been frustrated at his lack of first team starts in recent months.
His situation would likely worsen if Lacazette joins to add to the competition, but the former Montpellier man may find the football he so craves by swapping places with his compatriot. Lyon will need to replace their top goalscorer should, as expected, he leave, and club chairman Jean-Michel Aulas has revealed talks have already begun in relation to taking Giroud.
“There has been an approach, at some point, for Giroud,” he told L’Equipe. “He is a boy that we like, who scores lots of goals and who has a lot of ambition for Russia (World Cup). He told me personally that he wanted to take his time, that things were not completely defined with Arsenal. The key is Arsene Wenger. We are watching. We will try to very quickly sign a top attacker.”
West Ham United have also been linked with a move for Giroud, who would be able to remain in the English capital and gain regular Premier League football by making such a move. But the 30-year-old could also be tempted by a return to Ligue 1, which he won with Montpellier in 2012 when he top-scored, and Lyon could also offer him Europa League football.