Arteta shuts down talk Arsenal duo could leave; one is ‘determined’ to stay

Date published: Wednesday 3rd March 2021 10:28 - Samuel Bannister

Eddie Nketiah, Alexandre Lacazette Arsenal substitution TEAMtalk

Mikel Arteta remains confident of keeping Alexandre Lacazette and Folarin Balogun at Arsenal, but admits another striker may need to find a different solution.

Balogun is out of contract at the end of the season, whereas Lacazette’s current deal expires in 2022. Therefore, Arsenal face a race against time to persuade them both to sign up.

A number of clubs are already sniffing around, with Balogun linked with Juventus and Bundesliga duo RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen.

As for Lacazette, a recent report claimed Arsenal will look to cash in this summer. Atletico Madrid and Roma have been joined by Monaco in the pursuit.

Arteta admits that Arsenal’s transfer activity will not become clearer until they know where they will finish in the Premier League. However, he seems optimistic about Balogun and Lacazette.

He told a press conference: “We are planning what is going to happen in the summer. It will depend where we finish and how we finish in some cases.

“Everything is planned so let’s see what the market can bring and what the last few months can bring as well.”

Arteta hinted that the club will try to talk Lacazette into signing a new contract, contrary to what this week’s reports had claimed.

He said: “He’s got a contract with us. He played really well the other week. It’s exactly what we demand him to do.

“I am really happy with him and the discussions about his contract will happen soon and we’ll see what happens.”

Meanwhile, Arteta claims that Balogun, who could represent the future of Arsenal’s attack, is “determined” to remain with the club.

He claimed: “I am pretty positive about it. Every time I spoke to him he mentioned the same thing that he’s determined to stay here that he wants to stay here.

“We had some really positive conversations with his agent as well. Edu is in charge of that.”

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Situation different for Nketiah

Another striker whose future may be in doubt is Eddie Nketiah, who has struggled for continuity in the first team.

A prolific goalscorer at youth level, Nketiah is yet to fulfil his potential in senior football. He has only started three Premier League games all season.

A recent report suggested Nketiah is on West Ham’s shortlist as they seek a new striker. And Arteta admits that the 21-year-old needs more gametime.

The manager said: “He needs to play. We wanted to use him a bit more in some occasions and we didn’t.

“To be fair when he’s played he’s played well, but at his age and for what he’s done in the last two or three seasons he needs more minutes.”

READ MOREHigh-profile Arsenal quartet lead Edu clearout to raise transfer funds

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