With another transfer window fast approaching, Arsenal find themselves in all too familiar territory on the contract front. Having previously found themselves caught up in long-running sagas involving the likes of Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey, more expiring deal drama is unfolding at Emirates Stadium.
Among those to be running down their current terms is Alexandre Lacazette, with the French forward due to hit free agency in the summer of 2022.
It may be that he never dips a toe in said waters, with there two obvious paths opening up as we head towards the turn of another calendar year. What will January bring with it for the Gunners?
Mikel Arteta will be hoping for joy and prosperity, with an ongoing pursuit of consistency in North London allowing those that bet on football at Space Casino to back Arsenal at 3/1 for a top-four finish this season. With odds like these, it’s clear that bookmakers fancy the Gunners’ chances of taking on the Champions League.
Movement in another recruitment market could go a long way towards determining whether or not a return ticket is secured for the Champions League gravy train in 2022-23.
📍 London Colney pic.twitter.com/guwBGJNSR3
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 3, 2021
There has been plenty of talk to suggest that Lacazette could form part of that process. However, uncertainty surrounds his future, which leads to inevitable speculation regarding a potential move elsewhere. The obvious question here is: Should the Gunners cash in while they still can?
For now, everybody at the centre of that discussion is playing cards close to their chest and giving little away.
Will there be a twist?
For as long as Lacazette remains in a position where no prolonged stay with Premier League heavyweights has been agreed and there is the very real threat of him walking away for nothing, then Arteta will continue to be quizzed on his intentions.
The Spaniard has said of an unwelcome distraction: “I am really happy with what Laca is doing at the moment. But we are not going to be talking about new contracts until the end of the season.”
Is that merely the kind of non-committal response that we have grown accustomed to hearing from modern managers or could it be a subtle hint at something in the pipework? Might there be an M Night Shyamalan-esque twist to this tale?
If Arsenal really are prepared to fend off any interest shown in Lacazette over the winter and retain his services through to the end of the current campaign, does that mean they believe a deal can still be done?
— Premier League (@premierleague) April 15, 2021
To adopt that stance with no indication that an agreement can be thrashed out would represent risky business, especially as another striker, Eddie Nketiah, is edging his way towards the exits. Can the Gunners afford to be two strikers light given the costs involved in finding goalscorers in a congested market?
Maybe Lacazette has shown willingness to enter into talks when the time is right, or maybe Edu and Co. have identified targets that they believe will provide greater value in the long run. There are still more questions than answers at present, but that is often the case with Arsenal and anything remains possible from this point.