Alex Lacazette admits the Arsenal squad were shocked by the announcement that Arsene Wenger will leave the club this summer.
Last week, the France striker called on his teammates to win the Europa League in the hope it would save their season and keep the boss in a job. Now he wants to secure European silverware as a parting gift to the man who has dedicated 22 years to the club.
Speaking after his brace helped Arsenal to a 4-1 win over West Ham on Sunday, Lacazette told SFR Sports, “It was a special match. The first since we learned of the manager’s decision, but now we must think about other things.
“We need to finish the season well… I think that everyone was shocked, nobody was expecting it. But now it is part of football.
“We knew that at some point he would stop, we did not think it would be this year but now we have to deal with it… We want to win the Europa League for Wenger.”
With six goals to his name since returning from knee surgery at the start of this month, Lacazette looks very likely to start Thursday’s first-leg Europa League semi-final with Atletico Madrid – the team that had an agreement to sign him before a transfer ban precluded them from completing the deal.
Atletico went on to re-sign Diego Costa from Chelsea. Thankfully, it looks as though the Spaniard won’t be available this week, although he could return from a thigh problem in time for the second leg.
“The doctors will inform us but I think it won’t be possible for him [Costa] to be ready for Thursday’s game,” revealed Diego Simeone yesterday.
“He will be [available] for sure in the return leg, but I think he has no chance to be [fit] for the first leg game.”