Arteta avoids Lacazette contract discussion with ‘so much talk’ around Arsenal striker

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Mikel Arteta remains reluctant to discuss Alexandre Lacazette’s future at Arsenal, with the Gunners boss playing his cards close to his chest amid “so much talk” around the France international.

As things stand Lacazete, who has been at Emirates Stadium since 2017, is due to become a free agent at the end of the current campaign.

No extension to his deal has been agreed, sparking speculation regarding a possible sale in January, but Arteta is eager to avoid being dragged into a debate regarding his plans.

What has been said?

Quizzed again on Lacazette’s contract situation ahead of the Premier League clash with Liverpool on Saturday, Arteta told reporters: “There is so much talk.

“What I can say is that I’m really happy with what Laca is doing at the moment, and I’ve said that we are not going to be talking about any of that until the end of the season.”

Any other transfer talk?

Lacazette is not the only Arsenal player linked with a winter move, with Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny another to be running down his contract.

He has been linked with a return to Turkey, where he had a previous loan spell at Besiktas, but Arteta still sees a role for the 29-year-old in his plans.

The Spaniard said: “Again, I’m really happy with Mo. I won't be discussing individually other players, and it’s no time to do so.”

Arsenal fitness update

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal 2021-22
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While looking to steer around transfer talk, Arteta was also giving little away when it comes to selection for the trip to Anfield.

Club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned to north London early from international duty with Gabon leading to questions of his fitness, with Arteta saying: "No it wasn't pre-planned, we have to assess him and see how he is and make a decision.

“We have a lot players who have been through some different games, issues, little injuries, so today we have to test everybody and see how we are to play tomorrow.”

He said of Thomas Partey, who was unable to link up with Ghana after tweaking a groin muscle in Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Watford on November 7: “Same again, he could not play for the national team, he really tried to do that because they had a massive game and he really pushed for that one, but he wasn't close enough to do that.

“Again, it's something we have to assess today because he hasn't done enough [preparation work].”

Arsenal, who have gone unbeaten in their last nine games in all competitions, take on Liverpool sat fifth in the Premier League table and aware victory on Merseyside will lift them above their opponents and into the Champions League spots.

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