Mikel Arteta insists he remains delighted with the contribution Alexandre Lacazette is making to his Arsenal squad amid speculation he could be sold in order to raise funds to boost the north London club’s transfer funds.
The 29-year-old has two years remaining on his current deal and is said to have been on the radar of both Juventus and Atletico Madrid. The Spanish club, in particular, have been long-term admirers of the former Lyon captain and were reportedly willing to offer players in a possible part exchange deal.
Lacazette’s form dipped last season and Lyon Sporting Director Juninho revealed he contacted the France international during the midst of his goalscoring slump about a possible return to Stade Gerland on loan.
The striker returned to somewhere near his best, however, towards the end of last season having lost his place to youngster Eddie Nketiah and Arteta believes one of his most experienced forwards remains content in north London despite the intense competition for places.
Asked if he had spoken with Lacazette about his future ahead of Saturday’s Premier League opener against Fulham, Arteta said: ‘He is really happy here, he wants to keep improving and contributing to the team.
‘I know how good he is, the impact he is having. He knows about the competition he has with the front players, and again he needs to demand of himself to be the best striker at this football club, the same as the rest.
‘He was very happy to hear that and the way he has been training and conducting himself has been excellent.
‘Yes, I think he is very happy here. That is my feeling and what I got from that message.’
Lacazette’s striker partner and close friend Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, meanwhile, is set to sign a new deal and Arteta insists there is no need for Arsenal fans to agonise over his commitment to the club.
‘I can say that I am even more confident than I was at the end of last season when you asked me the same question 10 times!’ Arteta said of his captain. ‘I am very optimistic. I think [those fans who are worried] can be pretty relaxed!’