Arsene Wenger has prompted fresh speculation over Arsenal’s interest in Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette by saying the forward can consider himself unfortunate to not be a regular part of the France squad.
Arsenal failed in a £29.4million bid for Lacazette last summer with Lyon demanding £60m for one of the most consistent goalscorers in Ligue 1.
The 25-year-old has once more been linked with a move to the Emirates as the club plot what is likely to be a hectic summer transfer window.
Despite his goalscoring exploits for Lyon – his 23 goals put him second in the Ligue 1 scoring charts behind Paris St Germain’s Edinson Cavani – Lacazette has struggled to establish himself in the French squad and was left out of Didier Deschamps’ party for games against Luxembourg and Spain.
With just 10 caps to his name since 2013 Lacazette might wonder if he would have had more chances for a country not as formidably stocked with attackers as France, and Wenger name-checked the Lyon striker and Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, who joined Deschamps’ group as injury cover for Paul Pogba as the sort of quality players who prove Les Bleus are Europe’s most formidable squad.
“Every corner, you can find a player who can play for the national team, basically,” Wenger told Bein Sports.
"When you look at players like Bakayoko, Lacazette, who are not even selected...
“That was not the case ten years ago, and that’s why I think France has an exceptional potential and maybe could take over.”
Lacazette, who admitted in February he was looking for a "change of scenery", is not the only French international to have caught Wenger’s eye, with the Arsenal manager having professed his interest in Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe.
The 18-year-old forward is in line to make his international debut against Luxembourg on Saturday and is part of a formidable frontline that also includes Antoine Griezmann, Dimitri Payet and Olivier Giroud.
Wenger worked with many of the great France squad of 1998 and 2000 as manager of Monaco and Arsenal, most notably Thierry Henry and Patrick Viera, and the 67-year-old sees another bright dawn for French football.
“I’m convinced, maybe because I’m French, that at the moment the best players in the world are in France,” Wenger added.
“When you put yourself in Deschamps’ place it’s a nightmare to select the best 20 players and then the best XI.
“That is not the problem they have at the moment in Spain. Germany as well is still there but maybe a little less strong than they were in Brazil.
“The upcoming force in international football is France. You find top quality players in France now like you did in Brazil 20 years ago.”