After it surfaced that Barcelona are interested in Alexandre Lacazette earlier this week, on Thursday it was revealed that Atletico Madrid see the Arsenal striker as a potential Antoine Griezmann replacement. I must admit, it is beginning to get a little worrying.
When the summer transfer window begins to loom in the distance, the immediate and natural reaction of fans is hope. Fans are dispositioned to be positive about what is to come. And that is never truer during or in the lead-up to transfer windows. The prospect of new players and improved talent is a salivating one, it inspires the heart and raises hope, justifiably or not.
And so, as Arsenal come to the close of their season, with just one pesky Europa League final to play, I, as a fan, begin to think of the new players that could be moving to north London in the coming months, some of them more realistic propositions than others.
But there is another side to the transfer window coin: for all of the players that can be bought, the very same can be said for those that could be sold. For the Gunners, this has been a major problem in the past. Many of the lengthy transfer stories over the past decade have focused on who is leaving, not who might be arriving.
This summer, I had, perhaps rather foolishly, not paid nearly as much attention to the future of current players and instead looked at possible incomings. But there may be some players who could depart this summer that most fans would like to remain at the club — I am not talking about Shkodran Mustafi here. And chief among them is Alexandre Lacazette.
Earlier this week, it surfaced that Barcelona were interested in the French striker, seeing him as an eventual successor for the new 32-year-old Luis Suarez. And on Thursday morning, that news was followed up by reports claiming that Atletico Madrid may also make a move for Arsenal’s Player of the Season, with Antoine Griezmann expected to leave as he announced a few days ago.
How true these reports are, at this stage, remains to be seen. There is certainly reason to doubt the validity of both. No reputable sources have yet reported the interest of either club, although Lacazette was curiously listed on the Barcelona website.
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But they are beginning to mount. It is still only mid-May. The window has not even opened yet, and there are fairly plain statements of interest regarding Lacazette and two of the biggest clubs in Europe. If there is to be a major attempt to sign him from either, the leaks would begin around this time.
I do not expect Lacazette to leave Arsenal this summer. They have no intention of selling and are more focused on signing him to a new deal than securing a sale. But these growing early signs are a little worrying. That much must be admitted.
Lacazette leaving would be an absolute travesty, no matter the price. Replacing him would be a real challenge. Let’s hope, then, that this does not go where it could do.