MIKEL ARTETA wants to discuss a new Arsenal contract with Alexandre Lacazette but will wait until the season is over to open negotiations.
Lacazette has only managed eight Premier League goals all season and has frequently found himself on the subs’ bench in recent weeks.
But boss Arteta is still keen for the 29-year-old Frenchman to stay at the Emirates to help his kids realise their full potential.
Lacazette was Arsenal’s record signing when he joined in a £54million move from Lyon in 2017 but has found the going tough this season.
And with his current deal due to expire in 2022, that has sparked speculation the club might look to cash in this summer.
But Arteta says: “Laca is a player I always liked even when I was still playing.
“I really appreciate the qualities he brings to the team, his ability and his work-rate.
So we will talk at the right time and we’ll see then what happens.
“We have had some positive news in the last week with Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli signing new contracts and committing to the club.
“Now we have to have a chat with Auba about the next step with him and to ask him about his ideas and his feelings.
“But now is not the right time to talk about a lot of contract situations because we are in a crucial moment of the season.
“So we will talk at the right time and we’ll see then what happens.”
Lacazette’s goal in Saturday’s crucial 2-0 win at Wolves was the first time he has scored away in the Premier League since February 2019.
“It’s been a long time since he last scored away but he completely deserved that goal on Saturday and I’m delighted for him,”Arteta said.
“His contribution when he came onto the pitch was massive and it was the same with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
“The energy and effort he put in to help his team-mates in crucial moments tells you how involved he is in what we are trying to do.”
Saturday’s win moved Arsenal up to seventh place in the table ahead of tomorrow’s home game against third-placed Leicester.
Arteta said: “We’re in a good run with some momentum at the crucial part of the season and we’re going to face some of the top teams in the next two weeks.
“We know how important these next matches are going to be for our future but all we can do is look to win every game and pray.
“A few weeks ago we were really far from even thinking about Europe. Now we’re a little bit closer. Let’s go game by game and see where it takes us.”