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 By Ian Holyman

Alexandre Lacazette says he's leaving Lyon, hints at joining Atletico Madrid

Alexandre Lacazette has confirmed he will leave Lyon this summer, telling L'Equipe "it's the right time" to head for a new club, while hinting that he could move to Atletico Madrid.

Lacazette had suggested earlier in the campaign that it was the moment to leave the club he had joined as an 11-year-old, and the now-25-year-old forward made it official that he would be departing the seven-time Ligue 1 champions in an interview published the day before Lyon's final league game of the season.

"I think it's the right time," said Lacazette, whose final appearance will come at home to Nice on Saturday. "I want to discover something else, to put myself in danger and to make a step up. Although people say I score goals, I know I'm not very well known on a European scale.

"I want to see if I can answer the questions people are asking and improve still further. We're at a stage where everyone can be happy with what they get, so that's all the better."

Lyon's French forward Alexandre Lacazette celebrates after scoring a goal in a 3-0 win versus Nancy.
Alexandre Lacazette scored 26 goals for Lyon in Ligue 1 during the 2016-17 campaign.

The OL youth academy product, who has scored 26 league goals this season, had another two years to run on his current contract, but had been strongly linked to a host of clubs across the continent.

Arsenal were reportedly keen on bringing in the France striker, who was called up for the first time since October 2015 when Didier Deschamps announced his squad for June's internationals on Thursday, but it seems the opportunity of teaming up with compatriot Antoine Griezmann at Atletico is too good for Lacazette to refuse.

"Atletico is good," he said with a smile. "It's a club that has been in the Champions League semifinals for a number of years. It's a great team, a new stadium, and it's a club that makes its players improve. And there is Antoine Griezmann."

He added: "It would be a great story if we could continue together. It started in France's Under-18 team. He was all shy when he arrived. There are always small groups, and he was a little bit alone, but we grew closer because we played together in attack and we got on well in life.

"The pair of us used to make fun of the rest of the squad."

Ian is ESPN's French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman


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