French forward Alexandre Lacazette set up a club record transfer fee of Premier League side Arsenal with a move from Ligue 1 outfit Lyon on Wednesday.
Arsenal announced that Lacazette has agreed to join on a long-term contract without specifying the fee. According to a press release from Lyon, Lacazette’s transfer fee could reach as much as 60 million euros, including a seven-million incentive.
That would beat the previous record of 50 million euros paid to Real Madrid for Mesut Ozil in 2013.
“We are very happy to have Alexandre join our group,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
“He has shown over a number of years that he can score goals and that he is a very efficient finisher. As well, he has very interesting technical qualities and a strong character.
“So he is a guy who is a great addition for us, and someone who will help us challenge at the top level this season,” he added.
Arsenal said that the deal of Lacazette “is subject to the completion of regulatory processes”. The Frenchman was expected to fly with the team to Sydney for pre-season tour, with his home debut likely in the Emirates Cup on July 29 or 30.
“Throughout my childhood, thanks to Thierry Henry and other French players, I always dreamed of playing for this club so today that dream has been fulfilled,” Lacazette told the club’s website.
Since joining the youth academy at the age of 12, Lacazette has developed himself as one the best strikers in Lyon.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) July 5, 2017
He notched 129 goals for the French club, including 100 in Ligue 1, ranked fourth on the club’s history. Also, he became the first player to have scored at least 20 goals in three French top-flight league seasons in a row since Jean-Pierre Papin in 1992.
Lacazette was initially linked with an offseason move to Atletico Madrid, but after the La Liga club’s transfer ban was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last month, he finally secured his next destination in London.
With 2018 World Cup in Russia looming, Lacazette hoped that the transfer to Arsenal could boost his chance in the France national team, which he capped 11 times but just once in last two years.
For Arsenal, after witnessing a disappointing season without qualifying for UEFA Champions League for the first time in the past 20 years, the arrival of Lacazette would undoubtedly serve as a boost for their return to elite group in Premier League. He was Arsenal’s second offseason signing after defender Sead Kolasinac.
Lacazette became the latest key departure from Lyon this summer after Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich) and Maxime Gonalons (Roma). His position was expected to be filled by newcomers Bertrand Traore and Mariano Diaz.