By Amir Mir
Arsene Wenger has refused to distance himself from a move for £40million-rated striker Alexandre Lacazette.
The Arsenal manager has prompted speculation he is gearing up for a swoop for the Lyon spearhead after refusing to confirm or deny any interest in the highly sought forward.
The Sunday Mirror claim Wenger has turned his attention to Lacazette after missing out on Jamie Vardy, who signed a new Leicester contract on Thursday.
The long-serving Gunners boss sometimes completely rules out signing a player when a name is put to him publicly but chose not to do that with the 24-year-old forward.
“I can neither confirm or deny interest [in Lacazette],” Wenger toldFrench TV station Canal+ Sport. “If I say that I like the player it starts speculation.”
West Ham have been the Premier League team most strongly linked with Lacazette, who scored 21 goals in 34 Ligue 1 appearances this season.
The Evening Standard reported the Hammers had a £32million offer rejected for the striker, while there is also apparent interest from Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham.
The asking price for the in-demand spearhead has risen to £45million, which is a figure that is not out of reach for Arsenal.
Lacazette’s contact with Lyon runs until 2019, but rivals Tottenham will be keen to have a say after Belgian forward Michy Batshuayi snubbed a move to White Hart Lane in favour of Chelsea.
Mauricio Pochettino also saw Swiss sensation Breel Embolo move to Germany and has been unable to prise Dutch frontman Vincent Janssen from AZ Alkmaar desspite a series of bids.
It is said that Wenger also holds an interest in Spain and Real Madrid bound striker Alvaro Morata and Napoli forward Gonzalo Higuaín.