ARSENAL are close to securing a £45million deal for Lyon star Alexandre Lacazette, and the signing could be announced later this weekend.
Arsene Wenger received a massive boost in hunt for the Frenchman when the Ligue 1 side’s president revealed the striker is determined to leave.
Wenger now appears to have a clear run at landing him after a move to Atletico Madrid fell through.
The French club’s president has previously admitted to receiving a “very nice” over from Arsenal for the striker.
And now Jean-Michel Aulas says that he is preparing for Lacazette’s exit – but will only let him leave if he can find a replacement.
Aulas said: “Alexandre should have left for Atletico, but that could not be done.
“He wants to leave and we want to keep him, but the decision is not made.
“The case would obviously be the arrival of a player capable of scoring 25 to 30 goals per year.
“It will be a French international or a player of a very large European club.”
Aulas has consistently changed his tune through the Lacazette saga.
Just days ago – despite signing Bertrand Traore from Chelsea – he claimed Lacazette would not be sold.
But now Aulas appears to have softened his stance over his willingness to hold onto Wenger’s long-term target.
Lacazette, 26, had been targeted as a replacement for Antoine Griezmann at Atletico Madrid – until the fellow France international signed a new five-year deal.
Atletico have a transfer ban until January, so Lacazette would have to wait to play for the Rojiblancos.
The player wants Champions League football – which Arsenal can’t offer.
And, should the Gunners come back in, Lacazette would then have to decide on whether he could handle at least a season away from elite European action.
When Aulas claimed he’s received the offer – believed to be around £30m – he was confident Lacazette would stay at the club.
He said “Lacazette was told he could leave.
“We now have a very nice offer from Arsenal. But for us he will not leave.”
Lacazette has been sensational for Lyon, having scored 129 goals in just 275 games for the Ligue 1 club.