Aulas: Atletico lead race for Lacazette

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has warned Arsenal to act quickly if they want to sign Alexandre Lacazette as Atletico Madrid lead the race.

In what could be an attempt to lure Olivier Giroud to Les Gones, Aulas has issued an ultimatum to Gunners boss Arsene Wenger about Lacazette.

The 26-year-old striker has attracted serious interest from Atleti after scoring 37 goals in 45 appearances for the French club last season.

"I do not have the intention of rapidly letting Alexandre go, because there is still a desire from Atletico Madrid to bring him in on the 1st of January [2018]," Aulas told L'Equipe.

"Now, I will also be listening to what Alexandre has to say. I saw Arsene [Wenger] during the match between France and England. I was with Gerard Houllier [Lyon advisor] and I was led to be believed that he said to Gerard that there could be interest from Arsenal.

"But it is premature to say that a deal will be done. The first thing that needs to happen is that we have to do a very big deal before. We cannot let a player of his quality leave without having a replacement for him.

"There has been an approach, at some point, for Giroud," he added. "The key is Arsene Wenger. We are watching. We will try to sign a top European attacker very quickly."

According to Aulas, Atletico – who are currently serving a transfer ban that will end in 2018 – have submitted a €65 million bid for Giroud which the Gunners will need to match in order to land their top transfer target.

"It will have to be at the very least that. Everyone knows that the offer from Atletico is €53m plus €12m in bonuses. That is €65m," he continued.

"As the Arsenal representatives have been told, a deal would occur around there. The price for a player who scores between 25 and 30 goals every year is at the very least that.

"But honestly, I have not yet considered Arsenal for the moment, because I thought that Alexandre would stay after his failed departure to Atletico Madrid."