- Arsenal identify Fekir as replacement for Alexis or Ozil
- Olympique Lyonnais’ asking price is £60m
- Fekir scored and created 22 goals in 24 Ligue 1 games
- Lyon president denies Arsenal being in ‘advanced talks’
Arsenal are considering a bid for Olympique Lyonnais forward Nabil Fekir as they plan for the possibility of losing one of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in January.
The 24-year-old rose to prominence after an outstanding Ligue 1 campaign that saw him score and create 22 goals in 24 games. Links with Arsenal have been ongoing since late-2014 after Fekir’s father named the Gunners as a potential future destination for the French international.
His relationship with Alexandre Lacazette – a former Lyon player – is also being overstated in the media, with Football.London one of many publications to suggest the Arsenal striker could convince him to the Emirates. The Daily Star reported just days ago that the Gunners were ‘in advanced talks’.
However, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has no desire to sell the in-form forward, telling SFR Sport: “Of course (Fekir will remain a Lyon player in January) and nothing says he’ll leave at the end of the season.
“He’s under contract, he’s happy in Lyon. He’s enjoying a period of success football-wise, but also in terms of management as he’s captain of an Olympique Lyonnais that has been able to get itself back on track, and it’s also thanks to him.
When asked if the 24-year-old could remain at Lyon after the 2018 World Cup, Aulas said: “Of course, he has a very good chance of being (at) Lyonnais. He’s a symbol.
“In between times, there will be the World Cup. If France is in the final, which I hope for, and Nabil scores the goal that makes France world champions, of course he’ll get offers. But that said, we’re going to do everything for Nabil to stay and I think he wants to stay.”
Arsenal’s interest in Fekir may well be genuine as manager Arsene Wenger needs a stellar replacement for Alexis or Ozil, should either of the pair leave in January. The Lyon star has picked up where left off last season, contributing 15 Ligue 1 goals 1 already, but he won’t come cheap.
His asking price appears to be around the £60m mark, meaning Arsenal can’t match that valuation unless they offload one or two players, as per their sell-to-buy policy.
Alexis and Ozil are in the last years of their respective deals, leaving Arsenal with the difficult decision whether to cash in now or risk losing them for free next summer.