Mikel Arteta shuts down Alexandre Lacazette question and reveals talks with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang over Arsenal future

Bukayo Saka, Dani Ceballos, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette celebrate during Arsenal's Europa League clash with Olympiakos
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta hopes to keep hold of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta has shut down rumours that he could be open to selling Alexandre Lacazette this summer and says he’s positive over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s contract situation after one-on-one talks with the striker.

Lacazette was playing second fiddle to Eddie Nketiah prior to the youngster’s three-match suspension and has had a disappointing in front of goal this season, netting just ten times in the Premier League.

Reports earlier this month suggested the Gunners were prioritising discussions with Aubameyang and Lacazette could be allowed to leave, with Atletico Madrid keeping close tabs on the Frenchman.

Lacazette and Arteta in discussion druing Arsenal training
Lacazette remains in Arteta’s plans for the future (Picture: Getty)

But Arteta has been an admirer long before he was appointed Arsenal head coach insists forward remains a key part of his plans going forward.

‘I really like Alex, I said that before I even joined here,’ Arteta said at his press conference on Friday ahead of Arsenal’s FA Cup semi-final clash with Manchester City.

‘He’s the type of striker that I really like. I think he has periods where he was very unlucky because he was having the chances and not converting which he is not used to.

But the way he can link play, he’s a massive competitor, he hates to lose, he goes for every ball.

‘You see in every challenge how he’s ready to go, how hard he works and he’s a very intelligent player. I am really happy with him.

Asked whether he’s a player he doesn’t want to lose, Arteta responded: ‘Why would I want to lose a player like him?!

‘I am really happy with him.’

Aubameyang looks on ahead of Arsenal's clash with Tottenham
Aubameyang has entered the final 12 months of his contract at the Emirates (Picture: Getty)

Club captain Aubameyang is yet to put an end to the uncertainty surrounding his future – with his current deal due to expire in 2021 – but Arteta is confident that an agreement will be reached with the Gabon international.

‘I’ve always been very positive about it,’ Arteta said.

‘I don’t have the key of the future and in football anything can happen.

‘But I see his reaction, I see how he’s trained every day. I know that he’s happy, I talk to him a lot.

‘If we are able to do it, I think we can do it and we know how important he is for the team.’

Aubameyang was rested for the first hour of Arsenal’s 2-1 victory over Liverpool but will almost certainly start against City at Wembley this weekend.

Lacazette and Aubameyang share a joke in Arsenal training
Lacazette has given up pestering Aubameyang about his future (Picture: Getty)

Earlier this week, Lacazette revealed that he had given up talking to Aubameyang about his team-mate’s future as conversations had turned from being ‘funny’ to ‘annoying’.

‘He is already one of the legends [at Arsenal] because of the amount of goals he’s scored in so few games,’ Lacazette told beIN SPORTS.

‘But to be honest, we stopped talking about this (his future) because at the beginning it can be funny.

‘But long term you can start to be annoying because you want something that is not maybe the way we’d like and I don’t want to be the guy being a bit annoying [by keep asking the same questions].

‘So we don’t really speak about his future.

‘I’m just going to wait like everyone else. And I just hope he’s going tell me before the press.’

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