EPL

Arteta 'really happy' with Lacazette, plans contract talks

By Sports Desk March 03, 2021

Arsenal are "really happy" with Alexandre Lacazette and contract talks will take place soon, according to manager Mikel Arteta.

Lacazette has just over one year left on his contract and has been regularly tipped as a candidate to leave the Gunners at the end of the season.

Arsenal would need to sell Lacazette then if they were to recoup a meaningful transfer fee for him, but while Arteta refused to rule out that possibility, he was positive about the forward.

Lacazette netted from the penalty spot in the comeback win at Leicester City on Sunday. He has 11 goals in all competitions this season and 59 since he signed from Lyon in 2017.

"He's got a contract with us," Arteta said about the 29-year-old striker.

"He played really well the other week. It's exactly what we demand him to do.

"I'm really happy with him and the discussions about his contract will happen soon and we will see what happens."

Arteta was asked if Lacazette would end up staying like captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did after an intense period of contract negotiations.

The manager, who also insisted he remains focused on Arsenal amid speculation linking him with the Barcelona job, added: "Well, I'm hoping that a player under contract will continue with us. 

"Every case is going to be different and we will continue to assess that and we will make decisions relating to that."

Another pressing issue for Arsenal is the future of another striker, Folarin Balogun.

The highly rated 19-year-old prospect is out of contract at the end of this season but Arteta disagreed with a suggestion the player was distancing himself from the club.

Arteta said: "I wouldn't say so. I am pretty positive about it.

"Every time I spoke to him, he mentions the same thing, that he's determined to stay here and he wants to stay here. 

"He has some really positive conversations with his agent as well and Edu is in charge of that. 

"He's been spending a lot of time and energy to make that deal happen because it’s important for us to keep our talent in the house.

"What we can guarantee is that we are doing everything we can to keep him."

Arsenal will be seeking a third consecutive victory in all competitions when they travel to play Burnley on Saturday.

Fresh from wins over Benfica and Leicester, they take on a Burnley team who sit just five points above the bottom three.

But Arteta is expecting a tough test, with Burnley having won at the Emirates Stadium in December.

"It is always a really tough match," he said. 

"I think it's remarkable what the club, Sean [Dyche] and the coaching staff have done in recent years with the resources that they have, the style of play they have implemented and how well they execute it and how efficient they are.

"At home it was a tricky game because we played with 10 men and we ended up losing on a set piece, which is a big part of the game, so hopefully we can have a very different result.

"From my side, they merit much more credit for what they do than what they sometimes get.

"It's admiration as a coach that he's able to get the best out of that group of players, the results that they have as a club, to create the atmosphere that they do at that stadium.

"That is really nice for the English Premier League."

In a positive team news update, Arteta revealed Emile Smith Rowe's injury suffered against Leicester "does not look significant" and that everyone else was fit.

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