Arsenal’s commitment to the Europa League may have been questioned, but Alexandre Lacazette says he is the “hungriest” player in the competition to emerge victorious.
He is determined to right those wrongs in 2017-18, especially as the final is set to be staged in his home town at the Groupama Stadium.
It may be that he is forced to wait for an opportunity to aid Arsenal’s quest, with Arsene Wenger set to rotate his squad against Koln on Thursday, but Lacazette will be raring to go whenever he is called upon.
The 26-year-old frontman told Arsenal Player: “This year I want to go further and reach the final, which is in Lyon.
“I hope we can lift the trophy this season.
“I’m the player who is the hungriest to win it, because playing in the final in front of my friends and family would be great. Having said that, we can't think too far ahead. We should think about our match this week and take it game by game.
“It’s a good test because it's a European competition, although we do want to play in the Champions League. It's what we have to do this season. We have to win it. That's our target and it would be another trophy for the club. That would be good for this season.”
Wenger is expected to rest as many as seven first-team regulars against Koln, with there a large contingent of senior stars missing from training on Wednesday.
Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny, Lacazette, Danny Welbeck, Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey all sat out the session, casting serious doubt over their involvement in midweek competition.
They will instead be held back for a crunch Premier League clash on Sunday with London rivals Chelsea.
There will be plenty more opportunities for Lacazette and Co to come, though, with the Gunners set to take in at least six games at the group stage of the Europa League before their attention either starts to turn towards potential silverware or is narrowed to purely domestic matters.