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Arsenal handed double blow

Arsene Wenger

Arsenal have had a bid of for Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette rejected according to a statement by the Ligue 1 club.

The French side responded to a report in France claiming that Arsenal had offered £40.2 million. The statement corrected that report, stating the London club had in fact bid £29.3 million, which was met without a response as the player is not for sale.

“Olympique Lyonnais categorically denies having received an offer of €48 million (£40.2 million) from Arsenal for the transfer of Alexandre Lacazette as Le Progres claims in this morning’s edition,” read the statement.

“The reality is Arsenal formulated an offer of €35 million (£29.3 million) which Olympique Lyonnais did not follow up on for one reason only: OL will keep Alexandre Lacazette who is irreplaceable and who is one of the main leaders of Bruno Genesio’s squad.”

It’s unclear if this bid was made recently or earlier in the summer. The Gunners have been linked with bids for Lacazette since the early stages of Euro 2016 and last week, the Guardian reported that Arsenal had renewed their interest in the player.

Lacazette, who has 48 goals over the past two Ligue 1 seasons, has been consistently linked with the Gunners this summer and summers past. Arsenal are in the market for a striker, and having failed to secure Jamie Vardy’s signature in June and seeing Gonzalo Higuaín move to Juventus for a record fee, their options are dwindling.

Last Friday, Wenger said he is ready to spend big on the right player. The following day, it was reported that Arsenal had begun discussions with Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez. So far, the Gunners have signed Granit Xhaka for a hefty sum, Japanese striker Takumo Asano, and former Bolton defender Rob Holding.

Lacazette has three years left on his contract. He was left out of France’s Euro 2016 squad in favor of André-Pierre Gignac, despite having scored the second most goals in Ligue 1 the past two years, trailing only Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It’s unclear if Arsenal plan a follow up bid, but if one is made, it would indicate that their rejected bid was made recently.

Arsenal are currently in the United States where they will play the MLS All-Stars in San Jose on Thursday. They then finish their trip with a match against Chivas Guadalajara in Los Angeles on Sunday.

In another blow, new club captain, Per Mertesacker, misses the trip after sustaining a knee injury in training that will keep him out for months.

Mertesacker’s injury could force Wenger into the market in search of a center back. Laurent Koscielny will miss the start of the season as he recovers from a long summer with France, meaning Calum Chambers, Holding, and Gabriel are Arsenal’s only available center backs. Gabriel will miss Arsenal’s US trip with tonsillitis but will be ready for the start of the season.

With a number of questions remaining up front and in the back, Arsenal could yet be in for a busy end to the summer.