Lyon turned down West Ham's €50m bid for Alexandre Lacazette - Aulas
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has revealed that he turned down a bid of €50 million from West Ham United for the French club's star striker Alexandre Lacazette.
Lacazette, 25, scored 21 league goals in Ligue 1 last season and had already found the net six times this term before being taken off injured during last weekend's 4-2 loss at Dijon.
Aulas is trying to make Lyon into a competitive force on a European level and has overseen the development of a new 59,000-capacity stadium that opened last January.
Lyon also announced earlier this month that a Chinese firm is pumping €100m into the club and Aulas said he no longer wants to sell players like Lacazette for €40-50m.
"The first I sold to Chelsea for €42m was Michael Essien," Aulas told SFR Sport's new programme 91st Minute.
"After that, we sold [Mahamadou] Diarra for €38m to Madrid. We sold Karim Benzema for €40-something million to Real Madrid.
"We refused an offer of €50m from West Ham for Lacazette -- we've refused even more for Alexandre Lacazette this year.
"The objective I've set is to refuse offers because when you can refuse offers of €50m, €60m, or €70m that means you're very strong and that, financially, you don't need it.
"Why teams reach, at one moment or another, the highest level in Europe is because they can keep their players or buy players of the same quality.
"We can't do that at the moment in France, which is where Olympique Lyonnais' project with the stadium and the arrival of this Chinese group has come from.
"We hope that in the coming years we can not only refuse sales of this level but also buy really talented players."
Aulas said in May that Lyon had rejected a €40m bid from West Ham for Lacazette. Having finished as runners-up to Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1, Lyon have the advantage of being able to offer the France international Champions League football this season.
But Lyon also confirmed last month that they had rebuffed a €35m offer from Arsenal for the 2014-15 Ligue 1 Player of the Year.
On Saturday Lacazette was taken off with a knee injury shortly after putting his side 2-1 up at Dijon. However, Aulas said on Monday that the player is only likely to be out of action for eight to 10 days.
Mark covers European football for ESPN FC. Twitter: @mrodden