Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has been that replacing ineffective Gunners star Alexandre Lacazette must be his top summer transfer priority if he is to get the club back among the English elite.
The Gunners are enjoying a decent season by recent standards. Despite two recent blips, the Gunners are well in the mix to secure a top-four finish and with it, a return to the Champions League. And should they achieve it, that would mark an exceptional season for Arteta.
All the more remarkable for Arsenal is that Arteta has got the Gunners upwardly mobile with an extremely young squad. Investments in the likes of Martin Odegaard, Ben White and Aaron Ramsdale last summer were all questioned at the time.
And despite a lack of experience and perceived leadership in the squad, Arsenal have, generally, caught the eye this season.
Despite this, there have been issues behind the scenes which have given Arteta something of a headache.
A public falling out with Matteo Guendouzi has been well documented. As such, the Gunners have been told they have let slip “one of the world’s best midfielders”.
However, it is in attack where the biggest troubles have arisen.
With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also falling foul of Arteta’s strict disciplinary measures, the striker was ultimately sold to Barcelona.
That left Alexandre Lacazette to lead the line for Arsenal. However, with months left on his contract, his place in the side is only seen as a short-term measure.
That said, there is talk that Arsenal could look to extend his stay and offer him a new deal.
Goals record simply not good enough
However, Tony Cascarino has advised the Gunners against that. Pointing to his terrible goals tally of just four Premier League goals all season, the pundit insists Arsenal need much better.
“Lacazette is probably the lowest scoring centre forward,” Cascarino said whilst discussing the Gunners’ defeat to Brighton on talkSPORT. “He’s got four Premier League goals this season.
“Obviously he’s been in and out the team at times. But in 25 games in the Premier League now, he’s only got four goals. Lacazette is an issue. His contract is up in the summer and that’s an area they (Arsenal) they need to fill.
“You cannot do anything in football having a centre-forward that’s got, four, five or six goals in a season.”
Lacazette enjoys playing under Arteta
Despite Cascarino’s warning, Lacazette clearly is enjoying his football under Arteta.
Speaking two weeks ago, the Frenchman is seemingly putting all his energies in helping the Gunners secure a top-four finish.
“We’re focused on being in the top four,” Lacazette is quoted by Mundo Deportivo. “We want to get the team into the Champions League next season.
“We work for it all week, and at the moment, it’s working. And we want to continue like this, working hard every day to play well at the weekend.
“Arteta is the leader, the boss, even the boss of the club. Since he arrived, a lot of things have changed, including everyone’s mentality. It’s all because of him.”
Were Lacazette to leave, however, TEAMtalk understands the striker may be a target for West Ham.