Mikel Arteta says Alex Lacazette could yet extend his stay at Arsenal but contract negotiations will not take place until the end of the season.
The Gunners have broached the subject of a new contract on several occasions since he moved to Emirates Stadium in 2017 but little ground has been made.
The Frenchman is now within touching distance of becoming a free agent – his current five-year deal ends in June – and is already able to sign a pre-contract agreement with foreign suitors should he choose. His former club Lyon have already expressed an interest in a reunion.
Lacazette isn’t the only first team member out of contract in the summer; Eddie Nketiah and Mo Elneny are in the same boat.
“There is a chance (Lacazette signs a new deal), but we have decisions to make on three or four players in regards to the summer,” said Arteta when quizzed on the status of his captain.
“Starting those conversations right now, I don’t think is the right way. We have spoken to all the players, what to expect, the freedom that they have because the contracts allow them to make any decisions, and with our position there.
“That’s what we are going to do. At the end of the season, we will sit down and decide what’s the best for all the parties.”
Having just appointed Lacazette as club captain, you can understand why Arteta might want to keep the player’s experience while he scouts the transfer market for a long-term solution.
Whether a short-term deal appeals to Lacazette remains to be seen, even with the prospect of Champions League football it could be a hard sell for a player who will naturally want the security of a long contract as he enters his twilight years.