Arsenal’s search for a striker took a bizarre twist yesterday when Takuma Asano, 21, claimed the club had made a formal offer.
The Japanese international, with four caps and a single goal to his name, said that he was “a little stunned” by being contacted over a possible transfer to north London.
Arsenal supporters were bewildered by the news, comparing it to the signing of Park Chu-young in 2011. It was perceived as a PR stunt when the Korean failed to make an impression on the first team and the immediate reaction to this deal was the same.
Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger has refused to comment on his interest in Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette, 25. The Arsenal manager was reported to have met with the French international’s representatives earlier this week as a precursor to a £35m bid.
Asked by French media channel Canal+ Sport to comment, Wenger said: “I can neither confirm or deny interest [in him. If I say that I like the player it starts speculation.”
It didn’t stop the speculation immediately intensifying, with his refusal to comment deemed to be the French manager playing his cards close to his chest.
Lyon are keen to cash in on the want-away striker this summer but are holding out for £40m. West Ham United were interested in the player earlier this summer before turning their attention to Michy Batshuayi, 22. With Chelsea winning the race for the Belgian’s signature, Slaven Bilic may return to his original choice to improve his forward line.
If all else fails in his hunt for a striker, Wenger could always bring Robin van Persie, 33, back to the Emirates. The former Dutch international is set to leave Fenerbahce this summer according to the local media.
Such a move would take some explaining to Arsenal supporters who have never forgiven their former hero for the contrived manner of his departure to Manchester United. But this is football and needs must: Arsenal need a striker and if signed, the fans must forgive him.
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