Arteta urges Lacazette to stay focused amid talk of Arsenal exit

London (AFP) – Mikel Arteta has urged Alexandre Lacazette to keep his focus on Arsenal’s bid for a top-four finish after the French striker revealed he is in talks about a move away from the Emirates Stadium.

Lacazette’s current contract expires at the end of this season and he told Canal Plus this week that his agents have held discussions with “lots of clubs” about a potential free transfer.

The 30-year-old said he was “missing” playing in the Champions League and that he had “never cut contact” with Lyon, whom he left to join Arsenal five years ago.

Lacazette’s comments were badly timed for Arsenal boss Arteta, whose side have lost their last three games to lose significant ground in the battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League. 

The Gunners are in sixth place in the Premier League, three points behind fourth-placed Tottenham and eight adrift of third-placed Chelsea.

“He doesn’t need to tell me what he does in his own life but he has, we have discussed that and he is entitled to do that, then he has a duty to do his best here,” Arteta told reporters on Tuesday.

“His contract situation allows him to make the decision about his future. We have expressed clearly what our intention is, to speak in the summer once we know where we are, about what we are going to do in the future together.

“And for the rest, I just want him fully focused on his duty, which is now defend Arsenal in the best possible way, like he has done all the time he has been with us. That’s why he has been wearing the armband of this football club, that’s a big reason.”

Lacazette is unlikely to feature at Chelsea after testing positive for coronavirus and Arteta admits Arsenal may not be able to keep the striker beyond this term.

“It is the agreement that we made with him, that was our position and our position remains the same, that is what we are going to do,” he said.

“The risk of that happening, it was always there since the moment we made that decision, then it is up to him. It is not up to us or him it is up to both parties.”