Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has indirectly hinted that Alexandre Lacazette will stay for the rest of the campaign.
The Frenchman was out-of-favour earlier this season, but he managed to turn around his fortunes after his last-gasp equaliser against Crystal Palace (2-2).
Lacazette has started the last three league games for the Gunners, and he is expected to start up front when the club face Liverpool on Saturday evening.
Ahead of the game, Arteta was asked about the striker’s contract, which expires next summer.
The Spaniard refused to discuss the matter but said that a decision will be made at the end of the season.
He told Arsenal.com: “There is so much talk. What I can say is that I’m really happy with what Laca is doing at the moment, and I’ve said that we are not going to be talking about any of that until the end of the season.”
Lacazette has been a solid performer for the Gunners with 68 goals and 29 assists from 179 appearances.
He is ideally suited to Arteta’s tactical system with his good hold-up play, tireless work rate and ability to engage counter-attacks with key passes.
Despite this, the club are reluctant to hand him a long-term contract at the age of 30. They are only willing to discuss a short-term deal on reduced wages.
This has stalled negotiations over a renewal. The striker may not change his stance as Atletico Madrid and Sevilla could meet his demands on a free transfer.
It is highly unlikely that the Gunners will cash in on Lacazette in January, given Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be absent due to African Cup of Nations duty.
Instead of Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah could be the one to make way. The graduate will soon enter the final six months of his deal, and the club may look to sell him.
As things stand, Lacazette appears on course to leave for free next summer, but his situation could change if he can help the club qualify for the Champions League.
The Gunners are two points off the top four after 11 games. However, they are still considered outsiders by many to finish in the Champions League places come May.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com.
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