Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has admitted that he faces a “tricky” dilemma over the futures of Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette.
The Gunners performed a major transfer overhaul in the summer which is paying dividends, despite a tough start. Indeed, Arsenal lost all three of their first three Premier League games and sat bottom.
However, they now sit in the top four thanks to a solid run of form. Arteta’s overhaul of his goalkeeping ranks, defence and midfield has had a stellar impact.
Nevertheless, attack was one area which Arsenal did not add to in the summer. As such, they stuck with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Lacazette and Nketiah.
But the latter pair are into the final years of their contracts. As a result, they can talk to overseas clubs about a transfer from January onwards.
Arsenal have held their own discussions with both players, but Arteta admitted that the situation is not beneficial for his club.
“We have a cloud and the cloud is there and, at the moment, we’re not able to change it,” the manager told The Guardian.
“We’re working on it to try to make it as small as possible and as clear as possible, but it’s the situation we are in because contracts have details, the timing of them is tricky and we are trying to resolve it.
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“It depends on every single case, depends on the player’s situation, the minutes he’s playing, his willingness or the offer that you have,” he said. “But it’s something that you have to consider.”
Lacazette’s rise in recent weeks – including his standout display in the 2-0 win over West Ham – has impressed Arteta, but has also not helped the situation.
Similarly, Nketiah scored a hat-trick to send Arsenal into the Carabao Cup semi-finals on Tuesday.
The Daily Mail reports that Nketiah feels ready to leave in January. That is despite Arteta’s message that he is conversely ready to play him more. What’s more, West Ham, Brighton and Crystal Palace are showing interest.
Aubameyang complicates Nketiah, Arsenal situation further
Aubameyang dropping out of Arteta’s thinking over a disciplinary breach has complicated the situation further.
The Gabon international has not played of late after being dropped for the 3-0 win over Southampton earlier in December.
Arteta has a recent history of exercising his authority in such a way following Mesut Ozil’s time at Arsenal.
But Arteta said: “I don’t establish my authority by being dictatorial or being ruthless. I just ask for one thing: respect and commitment. At this level, if I don’t get that I pack my bags and go somewhere else because that is the minimum I can ask for.
“I am going to expect that from everybody who works for the club, first of all myself.
“To be successful you have to be passionate about something and, if you want to represent a club of this size, that is the minimum standard you have to bring.
“I am not going to ask anybody to put the ball into the top corner every time they hit it, but I will ask them to do the right things every single day for this club.”