By Harry Sykes
Alexandre Lacazette has warned off West Ham from mounting another concerted attempt to sign him.
Sky Sports report on their transfer centre blog on Friday (8.50pm) that the east London club had a mammoth £43million bid for the prolific striker rejected by Lyon last summer.
Hammers manager Slaven Bilic has subsequently admitted that West Ham tried to sign Lacazette although he did not divulge any details about the bid tabled.
Lacazette has now told clubs who are trying to sign him that he will only move from Lyon to a team competing in next season’s Champion League.
“[The team I will join] will have to be in the Champions League and play good football,” the Frenchman said, as quoted by the Sky transfer centre blog. “Passing the ball, not just hitting it from box to box. Not kick and rush. That would not work for me.”
Favourites Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund are likely to be in a position to offer Lacazette Champions League football, but long-time suitors Arsenal have a fight on their hands to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League next season.
Bilic admitted Lacazette was one of four key striker targets for his club last summer before they eventually signed Simone Zaza in a loan-to-buy deal that soon turned sour.
“We tried to raise the technical bar by signing players which would have been unthinkable for our club a few years ago,” Bilic told Milan News, as quoted by the website of Sky Italy journalist Gianluca Di Marzio.
“[Alexandre] Lacazette, Zaza, Bacca and [Michy] Batshuayi were on our list but we knew it would be difficult to sign them.
“We initially wanted Zaza but Juve weren’t willing to sell him, then we had Lacazette on our radar as well as Bacca.”
West Ham, who beat Tottenham 1-0 on Friday night to climb to ninth in the Premier League table, are set to be in the market for a proven striker this summer after holding off from buying one in January.
Lacazette is the second leading scorer in the French league this season after coming runner-up also in 2015-16 to Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The player top of the pile this season is Ibrahimovic’s former teammate Edinson Cavani, who has 31 league goals from 2,704 minutes played.
Lacazette also has a excellent strike rate of 24 league goals from just 27 matches and 2,170 minutes played.
In all competitions, the Lyon spearhead has scored an impressive 31 goals from 40 matches to make him one of the most sought-after strikers in Europe.
In other West Ham transfer news, this is the text message a Chelsea player sent Bilic ahead of clash against Tottenham on Friday night.