Lyon has confirmed the return of Alexandre Lacazette on a free transfer following his departure from Arsenal.
The French striker has left Arsenal after a five-year stay and has returned to Ligue 1 side Lyon, where he spent 14 years prior to his move to North London.
Alexandre Lacazette has admitted that he took a pay cut to return to Lyon this summer after a five-year absence.
The striker’s contract at the Emirates Stadium was about to expire at the end of the month, so he’s returned to the club where he started his career before joining Arsenal in 2017.
Lacazette has agreed to a three-year contract with Lyon, and his arrival is a coup for the French club, who finished ninth in Ligue 1 this season and will not participate in Europe next season.
After Arsenal announced his departure at the conclusion of his contract, the Ligue 1 giants acknowledged the return of their former captain on Thursday.
After Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s January departure to Barcelona, Lacazette became the second big-name forward to leave the Emirates this year.
Lacazette joined Arsenal from Lyon in 2017 for an estimated £52.7 million during Arsene Wenger’s last summer transfer window.
Lacazette played 206 times for Arsenal, scoring 71 goals and helping the club win the FA Cup in 2020.
The 31-year-old was re-introduced to Lyon supporters on Thursday at a club news conference, when he spoke about how he shared their “DNA” before announcing that he had accepted a wage cut to return to the club where he had scored 129 goals in six full seasons.
Lacazette told reporters, “My passion for the club was enough to take it (the wage decrease).
For me, the project is also very significant. It was a decision I made with the help of those close to me, and I’m satisfied with the result.
It’s exciting to re-discover this venue. I’m excited to put the shirt on. I took my time deciding whether or not to return.” the striker stated.
“Football is a wonderful sport to play. Last season, it was difficult to watch Lyon from afar and not be able to assist them.
I’m hoping that this phase is finished and that we can re-establish a strong Lyon. The goal is to assist the club in returning to the top and achieving European qualifying.”
The former Lyon captain stated that he did not need to wear the armband again since he was certain that he could speak in the locker room and aid his squad.
President of Lyon, Jean-Michel Aulas, added: “Thank you for being here with us this morning and for the next several years, Alexandre. We wanted to be trustworthy in our rhetoric and go from words to actions.”
Arsenal is gearing up for another hectic summer. Although missing out on Champions League football may have an impact on expenditure intentions, Edu and Mikel Arteta will want to improve certain areas.
Now that Alexandre Lacazette has departed, expect one or two new players to join the front line.
Arsenal are expected to try to recoup some cash for goalkeeper Bernd Leno. His contract expires next summer, and the team has signed Matt Turner, a USA international.
Arsenal were the Premier League’s top spenders last summer, and Arteta will be back again. Given that they will be competing in four tournaments next season, adding talent and depth is critical.
Following the departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January, Eddie Nketiah is now the only senior recognised striker at Arsenal.
Lacazette had scored double digits in Premier League goals in each of his first four seasons at the club, but he only scored four times last season during a dry period.