Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said replacing ineffective Gunners star Alexandre Lacazette must be his top summer transfer priority if he wants the club back in the English elite.
The Gunners are enjoying a decent season by recent standards. Despite two recent problems, the Gunners are well in the mix to secure a top-four finish and, with it, a return to the Champions League. And if they do, it would mark an exceptional season for Arteta.
All the more remarkable for Arsenal is that Arteta has the Gunners on the rise with an extremely young roster. Investments in the likes of Martin Odegaard, Ben White and Aaron Ramsdale last summer were all in question at the time.
And despite the lack of experience and perceived leadership in the team, Arsenal, on the whole, turned heads this season.
Despite this, there have been issues behind the scenes that have given Arteta a headache.
A public fight with Matteo Guendouzi has been well documented. As such, The Gunners have been told they have let “one of the best midfielders in the world” escape.
However, it is in attack where the biggest problems have arisen.
With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also breaching Arteta’s strict disciplinary measures, the striker was eventually sold to Barcelona.
That left Alexandre Lacazette to lead the Arsenal line. However, with months remaining on his contract, his place in the wing is only seen as a short-term measure.
Having said that, there is talk that Arsenal could seek to extend his stay and offer him a new deal.
Goal record just isn’t good enough
However, Tony Cascarino has warned the Gunners against it. Pointing to his awful goal tally of just four Premier League goals all season, the pundit insists Arsenal need much better.
“Lacazette is probably the lowest scoring centre-forward,” Cascarino said when discussing the Gunners’ loss to Brighton on talkSPORT. “He has four goals in the Premier League this season.
“Obviously he has been in and out of the team at times. But in 25 games in the Premier League now, he has only four goals. Lacazette is a problem. His contract ends in the summer and that’s an area they (Arsenal) need to fill.
“You can’t do anything in football with a center forward who has four, five or six goals in a season.”
Lacazette enjoys playing with Arteta
Despite Cascarino’s warning, Lacazette is clearly enjoying his football with Arteta.
Speaking two weeks ago, the Frenchman is apparently putting all his energies into helping the Gunners secure a top-four finish.
“We are focused on being in the top four,” quotes Lacazette by Sports world. “We want the team to reach the Champions League next season.
“We work on it all week and, for the moment, it is working. And we want to continue like this, working hard every day to play well on the weekend.
“Arteta is the leader, the boss, even the boss of the club. Since he arrived, many things have changed, including everyone’s mentality. It’s all thanks to him.”
If Lacazette left, however, TEAMtalk understands the forward may be a target for West Ham.