30-year-old Arsenal star hints at January exit– what should Arteta do?

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Arsenal star Alexandre Lacazette hints at January decision on future at club

Speaking on Telefoot (h/t The Mirror), Alexandre Lacazette hinted that he shall evaluate his future at Arsenal in January. The centre-forward has been in and out of the squad this season and has often played alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or as second fiddle to him.

A product of the Olympique Lyonnaise set-up, Lacazette was sensational for the senior team of the French club. In 2017, he sealed a big move to Arsenal and became one of the first names on the team sheet. However, he has not enjoyed a lot of game-time under Mikel Arteta, and he is ‘likely to depart‘ soon.

Should he leave Arsenal in January? And would it be a good decision by Mikel Arteta to offload him?

Arsenal need to move the dead weight to complete their rebuild

Since signing in 2017, Lacazette has racked up 181 appearances for the club, scoring 68 goals and providing 29 assists in the process. His contribution was key in the road to the UEFA Europa League final in 2019 and the FA Cup triumph the following year. However, in the last two years, he has blown hot and cold. 

Alexandre Lacazette has hinted that he could leave Arsenal in January.
Alexandre Lacazette has hinted that he could leave Arsenal in January. (Getty Images)

He did mention that he wants to focus on his football for now but shall evaluate offers from other clubs in January. That being said, his departure would do a world of good for Mikel Arteta. 

The Spaniard is seemingly trying to bring about a youth revolution at Arsenal and that could be achieved in a much more effective way if the deadweight is shifted out of the club. Players like Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketiah, and Folarin Balogun have suffered for game-time this season. Martinelli showed his talent on the weekend by bagging the second goal against Newcastle United.

Nketiah and Balogun are waiting in the wings, but their development can only take off with consistent minutes. Odegaard often plays behind the striker, but that role was occupied by Lacazette in recent weeks. The Frenchman is often also fielded despite lacklustre performances and has often drawn flak for it from pundits such as Gunners legend, Paul Merson.

If Arteta wishes to complete his rebuild at the Emirates and compete amongst the big boys in the future, he cannot have players on the brink of turning 30 putting in mediocre performances and still expecting to start week-in and week-out. The gaffer needs to put his foot down and finally shift the centre-forward out of the club. 

Alexandre Lacazette has been in and out of the squad under Mikel Arteta this season.
Alexandre Lacazette has been in and out of the squad under Mikel Arteta this season. (Photo by JULIAN FINNEY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Selling Lacazette can open up avenues to recruit smartly

Edu and Arteta made smart signings in the summer. Every player they brought in was under the age of 24 and highly rated at their previous clubs. It would bode them well to recruit similarly in the upcoming transfer windows. The departure of Lacazette could open up avenues to freshen up the front line.

The club has been linked with Dusan Vlahovic in the past, according to Calciomercato (h/t The Mirror). Not that it has stopped Arsenal from targeting him previously, but they now have a genuine position to fill in the squad and might be able to guarantee game-time to transfer targets in that position. 

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Thus, Arteta has done the first half of recruitment well, but it is time to let go of players like Lacazette and bring in exciting talent from around Europe to boost their chances of competing with the top clubs in England.