French international and Lyon top-scorer Alexandre Lacazette has a verbal agreement to join Atletico Madrid next season.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas confirmed Lacazette’s situation after the season-ending 3-3 draw with Nice at the weekend.
“Alex has a verbal agreement with one club: Atletico. We have accepted Alex’s demand to speak exclusively with this club,” said Aulas.
Atletico Madrid CEO Miguel Angel Gil met with the French striker and his agent in Madrid this past February to discuss a deal.
“I think it’s the right time to leave,” said Lacazette, speaking with France’s L’Equipe magazine.
“I want to discover something new, test myself and go up a level. I want to see if I can answer the questions people are asking of me and keep improving.”
Lacazette is one of the most sought-after strikers in world football, with Premier League sides Arsenal and Liverpool having shown interest in the Frenchman throughout the season.
Arsenal tabled an unsuccessful £30 million offer for Lacazette last summer, falling short of Atletico’s evaluation.
The Frenchman won’t be let go by Lyon for anything less than £40 million, and his form this season justifies the hefty price tag.
Lacazette finished 2nd in Ligue 1’s scoring charts with 28 goals from 30 appearances, and has 37 strikes from 45 appearances in all competitions.
Before any move can take place, Atleti must sort out their current transfer ban, which prevents them from signing players for the next two transfer windows.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport is hearing the club’s appeal on FIFA’s transfer ban, but with a verdict not expected to be announced until June, it remains to be seen whether Atletico will be able to confirm the signing of Lacazette.