Arsenal have transfer plans to sign £20m direct replacement for Alexandre Lacazette

Arsenal are reportedly hopeful of beating Leicester City and other Premier League rivals in the race to sign Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard. Mikel Arteta looks set to overhaul his front line in the summer transfer window, with both Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah entering the final year of their contracts.

Lacazette is the Gunners’ top marksman this season with 15 goals in all competitions following his double in Sunday’s 3-0 win over Sheffield United, in which Gabriel Martinelli also scored.

There has been speculation all season that Lacazette could leave this summer, with the French forward’s contract set to expire at the end of next season.

If Arsenal decide to sell the 29-year-old is sold, it is expected he would fetch around £15million to £20million – which would be enough to finance a bid for Celtic hotshot Edouard as a direct replacement.

France under-21 international Edouard has scored 16 goals in the Scottish Premiership this season, plus a further four across European competition – but is also about to enter the final year of his contract.

And Arsenal are in the race to land the 23-year-old this summer, according to The Telegraph.

The publication claims the Gunners are optimistic they can sign Edouard from under the noses of Leicester, who remain the favourites to sign the striker.

Edouard is of course a former team-mate of Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney, but is also well known to Brendan Rodgers having played under the Leicester boss during his time in charge of Celtic.

He joined Celtic on loan from PSG in 2017 before signing a permanent basis a year later. He is a regular for France’s under-21s, having scored 17 goals in 13 appearances with them.

Meanehile, Arsenal’s spending power this summer will also be determined by the final few weeks of the season.

The Gunners now need to win he Europa League if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League, with Arteta’s side 10 points off a top-four spot in the Premier League.

They face Slavia Prague in the Czech Republic in the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday, with their hosts having a potentially crucial away goal following last week’s 1-1 draw at the Emirates.

Arsenal’s attacking issues were laid bare in that game, with Nicolas Pepe’s breakthrough not coming until the 86th minute before they conceded an equaliser late on.

But the Gunners have been boosted by the decision of teenage forward Folarin Balogun to stay at the club, with the 19-year-old reportdly close to signing a new deal as his current contract expires at the end of this season.

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