By George Sessions, PA
Mikel Arteta has admitted the situation involving Arsenal’s forwards has cast a cloud over the club but is hopeful it can be resolved soon.
Strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah, who have scored nine goals between them this season, are out of contract next summer and free to talk to overseas clubs in January.
Meanwhile, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has missed the Gunners’ last four matches following internal disciplinary action.
An update on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 14, 2021
Arteta conceded: “We have a cloud and the cloud is there. At the moment we’re not able to change it.
“We’re working on it to try to make it as small as possible and as clear as possible but it’s the situation we are in because contracts have details, the timing of them is tricky and we are trying to resolve it.”
The Arsenal boss has not ruled out Lacazette or Nketiah signing new deals at the Emirates but the latter was linked with a move during the last transfer window and that is likely to be the case again in January, while the club could also decide to cash in on ex-Lyon ace Lacazette.
“It depends on every single case, depends on the player’s situation, the minutes he’s playing, his willingness or the offer that you have, but it’s something that you have to consider,” the 39-year-old added.
Lacazette and Nketiah’s futures could be dependent on the ongoing situation with Aubameyang, who has been stripped of the captaincy.
The Gabon international has been sidelined recently for an incident described as a “disciplinary breach”, which reportedly concerned a late return from a trip abroad to visit his ill mother.
It is not the first time Aubameyang has been punished in public after the 32-year-old was also dropped in March for the visit of Tottenham due to another disciplinary breach.
But Arteta pointed out he is far from a dictator, insisting: “I don’t establish my authority by being dictatorial or being ruthless.
“I just ask for respect and commitment. At this level, if I don’t get that I pack my bags and go somewhere else because that is the minimum I can ask for.
“I am sorry but I am going to expect that from everybody who works for the club. First of all myself, and the day I don’t do that I walk through that door and go and do something else. It is as clear as that.
“To be successful you have to be passionate about something and you want to represent a club of this size with its history, that is the minimum standard you have to bring.
“I am not going to ask anybody to put the ball into the top corner every time they hit it, but I will ask them to do the right things every single day for this club. That is for sure.”
Arsenal travel to bottom of the table Norwich on Boxing Day with Emile Smith Rowe their leading marksman this season with eight goals in all competitions.