Lacazette absence goes on as Arsenal confirm four positive Covid tests

Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal during The Mind Series between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at Tottenham Hotspur stadium

Alexandre Lacazette will remain sidelines for Sunday’s visit of Chelsea, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could return after Arsenal confirmed the pair missed out at Brentford last Friday after testing positive for coronavirus.

The Gunners were soundly beaten by the newly-promoted Bees last Friday. All the talk before hand though was on the absence of the Gunners strike pair. They were initially revealed as being unwell, but now more light has been shed on their situation.

Indeed, the Gunners say Aubameyang could make a return to action in Sunday’s home clash with Chelsea.

However, the game comes too soon for fellow forward Lacazette, who will sit things out once again.

A statement on Arsenal’s official website on Thursday read: “Auba is now negative on Covid-19 testing, is well and following all protocols for return to play.

“He will return to training and be assessed prior to Sunday’s match. Alex is still recovering and will not be available.”

News of Lacazette’s absence, albeit because of Covid-19, will further speculation over his future. Indeed, a report on Wednesday claimed the Frenchman was ‘days away’ from leaving Emirates Stadium.

Winger Willian and goalkeeper Alex Runarsson have also tested positive.

Arsenal and Barcelona discussing sensational swap deal

Arsenal have identified the three Barcelona players, goalkeeper Neto, centre-back Clement Lenglet and attacking midfielder Phillipe Coutinho, in exchange for their strike pair Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.

The statement said Willian was adhering to protocols and that his health and fitness would be monitored. The Brazilian will be assessed ahead of the Chelsea game. Runarsson, however, is still recovering and remains unavailable.

Arsenal have Thomas Partey (ankle), Gabriel Magalhaes (knee) and Eddie Nketiah (ankle) out of action as well.

Partey and Gabriel are aiming to be back in training later this month, and the target for Nketiah is early September.


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Aubameyang wants to stay at Arsenal

Aubameyang, meanwhile, wants to fulfil the contract he signed with Arsenal last summer.

Arsenal found themselves in a tricky situation last year, when Aubameyang delayed over signing a new deal. But they managed to convince him to stay in the end – on huge wages. They may be having some regrets about that decision now; his form on the pitch has not repaid them.

Aubameyang only scored 10 goals in the Premier League last season. It was his lowest scoring tally in a single season for 10 years. As such, Arsenal have been reflecting on their decision last summer.

The Gabon international’s sudden drop-off did have several factors behind it. He will be keen to prove it was just a blip. However, Arsenal’s confidence has decreased and a recent report said they were open to offers for him.

It then emerged that a Barcelona side looking to get creative in a difficult financial situation could try to sign him in a complicated swap deal.

But according to the Daily Express, Aubameyang has no intention of leaving Arsenal. Although he was very much considering his future last summer, he is committed to the cause now. The contract he signed last summer still has two years left to run, which he intends to see out.

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