Arsenal's perennial battle to bolster their striking options has been dealt a double blow after their pursuit of Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette ran aground and long-term target Gonzalo Higuain moved to Juventus.
French side Lyon released a statement confirming the rejection of a €35m (£29.3m) offer from the Gunners for Lacazette, who scored 21 goals in 34 league appearances last season. The 25-year-old is under contract at the Ligue 1 outfit until 2019.
Lyon also denied reports in France that Arsenal, who failed in their bid to sign Leicester City hitman Jamie Vardy this summer, had returned with an improved offer of €48m (£42.2m) for the converted winger and insisted that Lacazette is not for sale.
“Arsenal made an offer of €35m which Lyon didn’t accept for one reason alone – we will keep Alexandre Lacazette,” read a club statement. “Lacazette is one of the main leaders of [manager] Bruno Genesio’s squad.
“We categorically deny having received an offer of €48m from Arsenal for him, as has been reported.”
Juventus, meanwhile, completed the signing of long time Arsenal target and Argentina frontman Higuain from Napoli after the reigning Serie A champions met his buy-out clause of €90m (£75.3m).
The transfer fee makes Higuain, who turns 29 in December, the third most expensive player of all time and is only dwarfed by Real Madrid’s captures of Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo for £85m and £80m respectively.
Juventus’s outlay for Higuain suggests potential movement in the protracted sale of midfielder Paul Pogba, who has been heavily linked with a world record £100m move to Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United.
Arsenal’s north London rivals Tottenham, meanwhile, were defeated 2-1 by Higuain’s new club Juventus in the International Champions Cup in Melbourne yesterday.
Forward Paulo Dybala and defender Mehdi Benatia fired the Old Lady into an early two-goal lead before Erik Lamela replied in the second half for Spurs, who gave new signings Victor Wanyama and Vincent Janssen their first run outs.