Mikel Arteta has urged Alexandre Lacazette to stay “fully focused” on Arsenal after the French striker said he is in talks “with a lot of clubs”.
The 30-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked with a return to Lyon.
From his 31 appearances across all competitions this term, Lacazette has grabbed six goals and eight assists.
When asked if he could return to Lyon, Lacazette said: “It’s a bit more complicated. I want to play in Europe, it’s been a long time since I played in the Champions League.
“I’m missing it. It’s a little more complicated, nothing is impossible in life, but it’s a little more complicated.”
Arteta was unsurprisingly asked about the situation during his pre-match press conference for Wednesday’s match against Chelsea.
Lacazette was unavailable for Saturday’s defeat at Southampton and the Spanish manager has said he could return at Stamford Bridge.
He also revealed that Takehiro Tomiyasu could make his long-awaited return on Wednesday. The versatile defender has only played twice this year.
“We will assess him [Lacazette] today to see if he’s available for the team,” Arteta said (via Football London). “Tomiyasu is very, very close. We will decide today after the training session [if he’ll make the squad].”
Arteta continued, saying that he is not surprised by Lacazette’s comments.
“He doesn’t need to tell me what he does,” the Arsenal boss said. “His contract situation allows him to make a decision about his future.
“We have expressed our intention is to speak in the summer. For the rest, I just want him fully focussed on his duty which is to defend Arsenal in the best possible way.”
Eddie Nketiah is also out of contract at the end of 2021/22 and Arteta has once again emphasised his desire to keep hold of the young striker.
He said: “With Eddie I said so many times how much I rate him and that we have big plans for his future. We have to accept that and it’s the reality.”