€17m offer rejected for Arsenal summer target who will 'stay until end of season'

Stadio San Paolo

Lyon have reportedly turned down Napoli’s offer for club captain Maxime Gonalons.

Arsenal had reportedly contemplated a move for the 24-year-old over the summer, eventually opting to take Mathieu Flamini for free instead.

Whispers suggested the Gunners would have a second look at the midfielder this month, but Napoli emerged as prime candidates for his signature instead.

Reports over the weekend in Italy suggested a deal would soon be concluded for Gonalons – needing only final approval from Les Gones president Jean-Michel Aulas.

Yet the Stade Gerland chief has now vocally rejected Napoli’s bid, which if successful would have provided boss Rafael Benitez with a shiny new toy in the centre of the park.

For Maxime, the answer is no,” Aulas told RMC Sport. “The player will remain in Lyon until the end of the season.

He will stay here until then 100%. I’ve already informed [Napoli president] Aurelio De Laurentiis because he’s a person that I respect.

“Napoli had offered €15 million plus €2 million in bonuses.”

Benitez will now be left to look for midfield reinforcements elsewhere after coming close to landing one of Europe’s hottest properties.

De Laurentiis is persistent and could well be back for Gonalons at the season’s end – while a window may now have opened allowing Arsenal to revive their interest.

Given the Frenchman’s excellent form, however, it is likely his price will only go up and could push the €20million mark given Napoli’s rebuffed substantial offer.

Yet Lyon are believed to be in need of funds to balance the books, so they may ultimately be forced to sell at a discount price – even with competition for the player’s signature.

image: © SheaAk

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