Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has revealed he will sit down with Alexandre Lacazette at the end of the season to discuss where his future will lie.
The 30-year-old is set to be a free agent in the summer, with his current deal at the Emirates expiring at the end of the season.
The Frenchman, along with Eddie Nketiah, could leave and would mean that Arteta will only have youngster Folarin Balogun as an out-and-out centre-forward option going into next season.
Negotiations with Lacazette could be key for how the summer transfer window will progress, especially amid his fantastic form for the side.
While the striker hasn’t always impressed on the goal scoring front, finding the net just three times in the league this season, his importance in the all-round game should not be understated.
He has assisted seven times this season, often dropping deep to connect the play when the Gunners are looking to create in the final third.
By doing so, he normally brings players around him into the game, while occupying opposition defenders at crucial moments.
Though he struggles in the box at times, he often brings much more to the side than they lose by having Lacazette in the game.
His performances have led to Arteta praising him post-match, saying: “I think he’s had really good moments in terms of goal-scoring records, probably better than what he’s doing right now, but for what we ask of him and for what I ask of him and the contribution that I need from him, I think he’s doing really, really well.”
It leads to questions over his future, with the need to secure the striking positions going forward, but also the need to find a goal scorer in the summer following the loss of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
When asked about the plan for Lacazette, the Spaniard said: “It is the case. I said to you, at the end of the season where we know where we are, we’ll sit down with those three players [out-of-contract] and between all of us, we’ll decide what we do to move forward.”
Whether he signs a new deal or not remains to be seen, though the Gunners have been stung by large contracts in the past when they’ve been desperate to hold onto the player.
Given the new approach to recruitment, this may not be the case going forward and it puts Lacazette’s future in the balance, depending on whether he wants to stay and what else could be on offer to him.