Premier League • England

Lacazette gives Arsenal agonising decision after risky contract demands emerge

Steve Pearson
Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette warming up before the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London

Arsenal must run the gauntlet and make a decision that has backfired twice if they are to keep Alexandre Lacazette beyond the summer, per a report.

Since Mikel Arteta exiled Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from his squad, Lacazette has looked a man on a mission. The Frenchman has bagged two goals and three assists in the four matches since Aubameyang was stripped of the captaincy. In two of those contests, Lacazette has worn the armband.

Lacazette is thriving as the lone centre-forward and bringing the best out of Arsenal’s exciting attacking trio in behind.

Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka are all shining. Emile Smith Rowe has been the odd man out, but he too has contributed with three goals in as many matches from the bench.

However, Lacazette is in the final year of his contract, a situation that puts Arsenal in a perilous position.

The Mirror (citing L’Equipe) suggest Arteta wishes to keep Lacazette around beyond the summer. They state Arsenal recently offered Lacazette a contract extension, but the 30-year-old turned it down.

Lacazette contract demands revealed

His reasoning reportedly stems from his desire to secure a longer-term deal. Arsenal’s offer was for a mere 12-month extension.

That presents Arsenal with a difficult decision to make. Handing bumper long-term deals to Mesut Ozil and Aubameyang both backfired. Both were in the autumn of their careers when the extensions were signed and Arsenal quickly came to regret their decisions.

Given Lacazette’s demands, it appears the only way to retain his services would be to offer a multi-year deal.

Arsenal eyeing Arthur Melo from Juventus

Arsenal are reportedly keen on a January deal for Juventus midfielder Arthur Melo, with the Brazil international keen on quitting the Serie A giants in the New Year.

His stellar recent form could convince the Gunners to do just that. However, recent history will give their decision-makers something to think about.

If a longer contract isn’t offered, Lazcette’s sparkling showings of late will serve as a final swansong before he leaves for free next summer. He will be able to sign a pre-contract agreement with overseas suitors come January 1.

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Long-awaited Arsenal exit at ‘advanced’ stage

Meanwhile, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is on course to get his Gunners exit wish six months late after a trusted source revealed his two-part transfer is at an ‘advanced’ stage.

The versatile 24-year-old had been heavily linked with a late exit during the summer window. Maitland-Niles took to Instagram in late August in an effort to engineer a move away. Everton were linked with a loan deal, though Maitland-Niles ultimately remained in north London.

Now, trusted transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has revealed Maitland-Niles ia again seeking an exit, and a deal to join Roma is far down the line.

Firstly Romano tweeted Roma are in ‘advanced talks’ to sign Maitland-Niles. He stated a two-part deal of a loan with an option to buy is on the agenda.

In a follow-up tweet, Romano noted the loan deal would be for six-months and the buy option would be set at ‘around €10m’. From the player’s end, Maitland-Niles was described as ‘open’ to accepting the proposal.

Romano concluded that negotiations are ‘ongoing’, though it’s looking increasingly likely Maitland-Niles will get his move away one window later than he hoped.

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