Martin Keown sends message to Mikel Arteta over Alexandre Lacazette’s future

Alexandre Lacazette starred in Arsenal's 4-0 win over Slavia Prague
Alexandre Lacazette starred in Arsenal’s 4-0 win over Slavia Prague (Picture: Getty)

Martin Keown fears Arsenal cannot do without Alexandre Lacazette and must do all they can to tie the 29-year-old to a new contract.

The former Lyon skipper is in, arguably, the best form of his Gunners career and played a pivotal role in last night’s eye-catching 4-0 win over Slavia Prague which saw Mikel Arteta’s side qualify for the semi-finals of the Europa League for the third time in four seasons.

Stepping out of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s shadow, Lacaztte, wearing the captain’s armband, scored twice as Arsenal swept aside opposition that hadn’t lost at home all season and has disposed of Leicester and Rangers in the two previous rounds.

Lacazette has just over a year remaining on his contract, leaving the Gunners in the same predicament they faced with Aubameyang last summer, but Keown believes Arteta should retain the services of their No.9, even though highly-rated youngster Folarin Balogun is on the verge of committing his long-term future to the club.

Asked if his old side can afford to lose a player of Lacazette’s quality, Arsenal legend Keown said: ‘No, I don’t think you can.

Alexandre Lacazette captained Arsenal in their 4-0 win over Slavia Prague
Alexandre Lacazette captained Arsenal in their 4-0 win over Slavia Prague (Picture: Getty)

‘I think he’s really, really important. Aubameyang now we’ve been told has got malaria, he may well be coming back, so they say. We wish him well. Maybe that’s why he was a bit off colour and not playing his usual football.

‘But you want Lacazette in and around there, the best example he shows the youngsters – you’ve got Balogun and Nketiah coming through – is his technique.

‘You’ve got a good senior player there, 29 years of age, talk of whether he’s going to stay or not. But while he’s here, he’s making it count.

‘He’s a good influence I think in terms of what’s around him. Don’t underestimate that. You’ve got to have good professionals around the youngsters and it takes care of itself.’

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