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Mertesacker to miss start of EPL, Higuain signs for Juventus, Lacazette bid rejected

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Arsenal centre-back Per Mertesacker will miss the start of the Premier League season with a knee injury.

Manager Arsene Wenger said the former Germany defender will be out for “a few months” after picking up the injury in Friday’s pre-season draw with Lens.

Mertesacker, 31, did not travel with the rest of Arsenal’s squad for their two-match tour of the United States.

Wenger has signed Rob Holding from Bolton but will likely now pair Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel at centre-half.

Mertesacker, who joined the club in 2011, played 24 times for Arsenal in the Premier League last season as they finished runners-up.

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Juventus have signed Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli for £75.3m. The 28-year-old has signed a five-year deal at Juventus after the club met his buy-out clause of 90m euros, which will be paid in two instalments.

The fee for the France-born forward is the third most expensive in history and the biggest domestic deal of all time. Higuain, who joined Napoli from Real Madrid in 2013 for £34.5m, was linked with a move to the Premier League with Arsenal earlier this month.

Gonzalo Higuain

The £75.3m fee for Higuain, who began his career with River Plate in Argentina, is dwarfed only by those paid by Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo (£80m) and Gareth Bale (£85m). The previous highest domestic transfer was the £50m deal that took Spain striker Fernando Torres from Liverpool to Chelsea in January 2011.

Higuain won the Capocannoniere – Serie A’s golden boot – last season after scoring a league record-equalling 36 goals as Napoli finished runners-up to his new club. It was only the second time this century a player had scored more than 30 goals in a Serie A season, following Luca Toni’s tally of 31 for Fiorentina in 2005-06. The transfer could have a bearing on Manchester United’s move for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, with the 23-year-old reportedly the subject of a £100m bid from the Premier League club.

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Lyon have rejected an offer of 35m euros (£29.3m) from Arsenal for France forward Alexandre Lacazette.

The 25-year-old scored 21 goals in 34 league appearances last season, and is under contract at Lyon until 2019.

Alexandre Lacazette

In a statement on Twitter, the French club said “Lacazette is irreplaceable and one of the main leaders” in coach Bruno Genesio’s team.

Lyon denied a newspaper report saying they turned down an offer of 48m euros (£42.2m) from the Premier League side.

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