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Arsenal have held fresh talks with Lyon over a summer deal for Alexandre Lacazette.
The French club’s president, Jean-Michel Aulas, travelled to London earlier this week for further negotiations and was accompanied by former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier, who is acting as an advisor during negotiations.
Aulas has indicated that Arsenal are now leading the race to sign Lacazette after confirming to Le Progres that the striker’s proposed transfer to Atletico Madrid ‘can not be done’ due to the Spanish club’s ban.
The 26-year-old had reached a verbal agreement to join Diego Simeone’s side last month but that move has now fallen through as Atletico are unable to register new players until January 2018.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are keen on bolstering their attacking options but reports earlier this week claimed that Lyon were holding out for a £60 million transfer fee.
The French club are demanding €55 million (£48.7m) up front with a further €12m (£10.6m) in add-ons.
Lyon’s valuation is over double what Arsenal were prepared to pay last summer after they failed with a £29m offer.
Le Progres also claim that Aulas asked Arsenal about the availability of Olivier Giroud.
Giroud, who has also been linked with a move to West Ham, insisted last week that he was happy to stay at Arsenal, despite only starting 11 Premier League games this season.
‘I feel good, I want to win the English league. But I don’t know what my future is made of,’ said the striker.
‘I’ll have to deal with the transfer window, see with the coach, but I know he counts on me, even if I have had limited playing time this season.’