Mikel Arteta was very clear with his messages over the futures of an Arsenal pair who will be out of contract at the end of the season.
Arsenal’s form on the pitch has been good in recent weeks but there are a number of issues for them to resolve off it. They have some concerns about a couple of players who are running down their contracts.
The main topic of conversation has been striker Alexandre Lacazette. With the club since 2017, the former Lyon frontman has scored 68 goals in his Arsenal career.
But there have been serious doubts about whether he will extend his stay beyond this season. Both sides have their own concerns about continuing together.
Arsenal may be wary off offering significant terms to a player in his 30s after doing the same with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in 2020 and seeing little reward since.
From Lacazette’s point of view, he wants to spend the remaining prime years of his career competing for more major honours.
Therefore, there has been plenty of speculation about him leaving the club, either at the end of his contract in the summer or for a cut-price fee in January.
Addressing the media in view of Arsenal’s return to action against Liverpool, Arteta was asked about Lacazette’s situation. But the manager was insistent that the Frenchman will not be under discussion until the season ends.
He said: “I don’t know there is so much stuff. What I can say is I’m really happy with what Laca is doing.
“We’re not going to be talking about any of that until the end of the season.”
Similarly, midfielder Mohamed Elneny is also out of contract at the end of the season. He was a regular last year but hasn’t played much at all this time around.
There was even talk of him moving to Turkey in September when that country’s transfer window remained open. It still seems his likeliest next destination, even if he will have to wait a little longer.
For now, he remains at Arteta’s disposal and the manager confirmed his positive opinion of the Egyptian remains.
Arteta added: “Again I cannot go into that. I’m really happy with Mo. I will not be discussing the individual fates of the players as it’s not the time to do so.”
Arteta provides Aubameyang, Partey updates
In the more immediate future, Arteta’s focus will be on the matches awaiting Arsenal. Next up is a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool on Saturday evening.
Arsenal may have to navigate the game without two key players after Arteta provided updates on some doubts.
Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned early from international duty, leaving Arteta with a situation to assess.
He said: “No it wasn’t pre-planned. We had to assess him and see how he is and make decisions. We have a lot of players who have been through different game issues.
“Let’s see how everybody is. We have to see them today before assessing and seeing how everybody is.”
Another doubt is Thomas Partey, who was unable to feature for Ghana during the break.
Arteta explained: “He couldn’t play for the national team. He really tried to do that and pushed for that one but wasn’t enough.
“Again that’s something we have to assess because until today he hasn’t done enough.”