Arsenal will delay contract talks with Alexandre Lacazette until end of the season, even though it means the Premier League club face the prospect of losing the striker for nothing.
The Frenchman’s £200,00-a-week contract expires in the summer, which means he is free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs in January.
Lacazette joined Arsenal from Lyon in 2017 in a £52million deal – a club record at the time – and the Frenchman has scored 68 goals in 180 appearances for the club since.
He was the club’s top goal scorer last season with 17 goals in all competitions and has reached double goalscoring figures in each of his last four seasons in north London.
However, his future at the Emirates Stadium is uncertain, and the 30-year-old has been linked with Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, Marseille and Newcastle as potential destinations for a new challenge.
Lacazette has returned to Mikel Arteta’s starting XI in recent weeks after coming off the bench to scoring Arsenal’s equaliser in their 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace.
But, according to The Sun, the club are not willing to offer the striker anther long-term contract in his current wages.
Instead, it is claimed a 12 month extension is on the table, although the club aren’t willing to discuss it until after the 2021/22 campaign is over.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has kept all his contract discussions on hold at this present time but he hasn’t ruled anything out.
“I am really happy with what Laca is doing at the moment,” said the boss.
“But we are not going to be talking about new contracts until the end of the season.”
Former England winger Shaun Wright-Philips believes Lacazette would be the perfect replacement for all-time goalscorer Sergio Aguero at Man City, comparing his ability as a link-up man to Liverpool star Roberto Firmino.
“Someone was talking to me about it the other day and I said ‘for me I would sign Ollie Watkins,” the former City star told SunSport.
“Or even Lacazette, he knows where the goal is. He knows how to bring people into play and I always believe that when he plays for Arsenal, their front three behind him seem to play better, there seems to be more of a link-up between them,” said the 40-year-old.
“I think he’s like someone that helps Liverpool tick, Roberto Firmino.
“When Firmino plays with Sadio Mane and Mo Salah, there’s more space for them to run in behind because he’ll come short.
“He’ll turn and he’ll drag centre-backs with him and it creates space in-behind.
“The way Phil Foden plays, always running in-behind, Ilkay Gundogan, if Raheem Sterling plays, Riyad Mahrez, it’d just open the game up a little bit more [for them] and give the centre-backs something real to think about, instead of coming short or coming deep with that striker, they have to think about going in-behind as well.”