Mikel Arteta has discussed the futures of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang while reiterating his ‘big worry’ regarding Arsenal’s ability to spend this summer.
The north London side are amongst a host of clubs to have been strongly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, with reports suggesting the Gunners will have a minimal transfer budget with which to strengthen.
Arteta has expressed his concern over his side’s ability to bridge the gap to the Premier League‘s leading sides and admits the ongoing financial uncertainty is hindering his transfer plans, insisting he is unsure whether he will have to sell before he can buy this summer.
“I don’t know,” he said at his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City. “We are facing a lot of uncertainties at the moment. Covid-19 has hit all the clubs. It’s obviously a big worry, the uncertainty we have with some of the players.
“We don’t know where we’re going to finish and how much impact financially that is going to have. We are going to have to sit down at the end of the season and work out what we are able to do but we are working together with the club since the last few months to put different plans together and see how we can minimise the uncertainties we have.”
Amongst Arteta’s chief concerns remains the long-term future of leading goalscorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the forward entering the final year of his contract at the Emirates and yet to agree terms on a potential extension.
✅ Arsenal have conceded 18 goals in the 18 PL games since Arteta’s 1st match in charge, compared to 27 in the opening 18 games
✅ Unbeaten in all 8 PL home games in 2020, having lost 3 times at Emirates Stadium in December pic.twitter.com/rP4CKNBryM
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) July 15, 2020
The Arsenal boss admits he remains ‘very positive’ regarding the situation and is hopeful the Gabon international will sign new terms, insisting the 30-year-old remains ‘happy’ with life at the club.
“I’ve always been very positive about it,” he said. “I don’t have the key to the future and in football, anything is possible. But I see his reactions, I see how he is training every day. I know that he’s happy. I talk to him a lot and if we are able to do it, I think we can do it and we know how important he is for the team.”
Speculation has also mounted that Alexandre Lacazette could leave amid reported interest from Atletico Madrid, the forward having endured an underwhelming season despite returning to form in recent weeks with three goals in his past four appearances.
Speaking on the prospect of the Frenchman signing a new deal, Arteta insists he doesn’t ‘want to lose’ the former Lyon star and suggested the forward is part of his long-term plans and he looks to rebuild in the coming seasons.
“I don’t want to lose a player like him,” said Arteta. “I really like Alex, I said that even before I joined here that he is the type of striker that I really like,” he said. “I think he had periods where he was very unlucky, because he was having the chances and not converting them, which he is not used to.
“But the way he can link play, he’s a massive competitor he hates to lose. He goes for every ball, you see in every challenge how he’s ready to go. He works really hard and he’s a very intelligent player, I am really happy with him.”