A cool £40million is the price Arsenal will have to pay if they want to see Alexandre Lacazette in their club colours this season. A day after Lyon revealed they had rejected a bid from Arsenal and that the striker is not for sale, for any amount, reports suggest the potential transfer might not be entirely dead in the water.
One target was struck off the list on Tuesday, after Juventus confirmed Gonzalo Higuain's transfer from Napoli, and while that move was realistically never going to happen, considering the Serie A champions had to pay over £75m for the Argentine's services, it does narrow Arsene Wenger's striker options further.
Lacazette was thought to be one of those options for Wenger to consider, with Arsenal pondering over making a firm move, but it seemed like that particular deal was a no-go after Lyon released a statement on their official Twitter account in reply to a report on Le Progres, which claimed Arsenal had made a €48m (£40m) offer for the France international striker.
"Olympique Lyonnais categorically denies having received a €48m offer from Arsenal for Alexandre Lacazette, like Le Progres claim," the statement, in French, read.
"The club regrets yet again that Le Progres did not decide to contact us before publishing this false information that has created confusion.
"The reality is that the club Arsenal made an offer worth €35m, which Lyon did not follow up on for one reason – OL will keep Alexandre Lacazette who is irreplaceable and who is one of the main leaders in Bruno Genesio's squad."
However, according to the Daily Mirror, Lyon will be willing to sell the 25-year-old, if Arsenal make an offer of £40m up front, with the fee increasing further based on add-ons.
Arsenal are definitely in the transfer market for a striker, with Romelu Lukaku and Wissam Ben Yedder also linked. Wenger, though, refused to reveal his striker options, when asked specifically about Lyon's statement regarding Arsenal's interest in Lacazette.
"Lyon is responsible for their own statements," Wenger told reporters in the USA, where Arsenal are set to play two preseason matches. "On the transfer front, I think the best [option] is always to keep as secret as possible.
"If we sign somebody, we will announce it. But I cannot tell you much more on that."
Wenger also must decide if signing a wide forward, like a Riyad Mahrez, Julian Draxler or Gabriel Barbosa, who seems to be heading to Juventus, makes more sense than paying over the odds for a central striker. With money to burn, though, Arsenal do have the option of doing both, even if it remains highly unlikely.