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Column: Arsenal needs to stop being cheap

(Icon Sportswire)

Arsenal is on the hunt for a forward and a centre back, but manager Arsene Wenger and the upper brass are unwilling to spend big money.

It’s already been confirmed by Lyon that Arsenal sent a low-ball offer of €35 million for star striker Alexandre Lacazette. The 25-year-old French striker missed out on Euro 2016, but has impressed in Ligue 1, scoring 48 league goals in the past two seasons. Reports said that Arsenal had offered Lyon €48 million, which would have been much more reasonable, but Lyon went out with a public statement to give some clarification.

“Olympique Lyonnais categorically denies having received a 48m euros offer from Arsenal for Alexandre Lacazette like Le Progrès claims in their edition this morning.

“The club regrets yet again that Le Progrès did not decide to contact us before publishing this false information that has created confusion on the day where the Group, on the stock exchange, publishes its annual accounts showing 218.1m euros, a progression of 111 percent from 2014/15.

“The reality is that the club Arsenal made an offer worth 35m euros, which Lyon did not follow up on for one reason: OL will keep Alexandre Lacazette who is irreplaceable and who is one of the main leaders in Bruno Genesio’s squad.”

The rumors surrounding Arsenal and Lacazette haven’t died out, with reports saying that they will send an improved offer to the French club. Arsenal were also linked with Gonzalo Higuain, but when the price was revealed when Juventus ending up getting him (£76 million) it was not a surprise that he didn’t end up in London.

The Lacazette bid is a clear example of how Arsenal tries to get quality players on the cheap. And there’s nothing wrong with getting players cheap or sending a low first offer to a club. But Arsenal not only low-balls other clubs, they then go out and complain that the market values are too high. Wenger has been crying out in the media several times about how players are too expensive nowadays.

The market determines how much a player is worth, and Lacazette and his goal-scoring capabilities are worth a lot more than €35 million. Arsenal spent more than that on bringing in Granit Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach earlier in the summer, so why they wouldn’t want to pay the same prize for a proven goal-scorer is beyond me.

The Gunners are also looking for a new centre back as Per Mertesacker went off injured in a friendly against Lens, and will be out until the new year after being forced to have knee surgery. The hottest name has been Shkodran Mustafi from Valencia.

The German international is valued around £40 million, and according to the Sun, so take it with a grain of salt, Arsenal sent an opening offer of just £15.2 million. If Wenger & Co. think that they can get a German international with a €50 million release clause for around €18 million they must be dreaming.

If they want to compete for the Premier League title, Arsenal must start spending if they want to bring in quality players that will have an instant impact on the side. You can always get by and buy cheaper and younger players or pick up a veteran or two that are free agents, but if you have the ambition of competing for the league title and take a go at the Champions League, you can’t just look at the price tag of a player, but what that player brings to the club as a whole. Wenger needs to stop complaining and open up the checkbook.

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