€70m-rated Arsenal injured centre-forward will return next week

Gunners have been handed an injury boost with Alexandre Lacazette set to return to first-team training next week. France international enjoyed a bright start to 2019-20 campaign, scoring two goals in his first three games, including a crucial strike in London club’s 2-2 draw against rivals Tottenham.

But Alexandre suffered an ankle injury during the first north London derby of the campaign and has not played since, missing seven matches in total. Lacazette is now closing in on a return, however, as he could join his team-mates for training as early as next week. It is excellent news for Unai Emery who needs such prolific players.

If the 28-year-old striker avoids any setbacks, he could make himself available for Gunners trip to Sheffield United on the weekend. Amid French centre-forward’s absence, London club are currently third in the Premier League, one point below defending champions Man City.

Alexandre has emerged as a key figure for Arsenal since signing from Lyon two years ago but was reportedly offered to Zenit in the summer. Russian agent Dmitry Cheltsov said: ‘I offered Alexandre Lacazette to Zenit. Their sporting director Javier Ribalta said to me: “Are you crazy? His release clause is €68m.”

‘I told him you can negotiate with the Gunners. I am sure they will be ready to accept something between €50m and €55m. ‘His salary would be €7-8m after-tax.’ Lacazette also named in the Les Bleus squad several times which is already a big achievement for the footballer. Barcelona are also interested in signing him next summer.