Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette is “going out the door” and has no part of Mikel Arteta’s plans for the future, believes ESPN FC pundit Steve Nicol. The Frenchman came off the substitute’s bench to wrap up the 2-0 win at Wolves on Saturday evening.
Lacazette has lost his starting spot to 21-year-old academy graduate Eddie Nketiah in recent weeks, who Arteta prefers to lead the line from the off.
But Lacazette, once Arsenal’s club-record signing, has made key contributions from the bench, producing three goals and an assist in his last five top-flight matches when coming on as a sub.
By contrast, he has scored five goals and produced two assists in his 17 Premier League starts this season – having managed 13 strikes and 10 assists in 35 games last term, 27 of which were starts.
Lacazette has played in all but one of the 15 league matches under Arteta, missing only a win over Everton in February.
Yet the Atletico Madrid-linked France international is headed for the Emirates exit, believes former Liverpool defender Nicol, as shown by his demotion to the bench of late.
Asked how good Lacazette’s goal will have been for his confidence, Nicol replied on ESPN FC: “I’m not so sure it’s confidence issues, I think he’s going out the door quite frankly.
“I mean, Arteta has made it clear to everybody outside of Arsenal and it must be clear to Lacazette that he’s not part of the plans in the future.
“It’s fantastic he’s got a guy of such quality to come on and you saw the quality in his goal, his first touch and a super finish.
“But the truth is, he’s not part of Arteta’s future and I’m afraid he will not be at Arsenal too long.”
Lacazette has been mooted as a potential part of a swap deal with Atletico for midfielder Thomas Partey, who tops Arteta’s summer wishlist.
The Spanish coach meanwhile hopes Lacazette’s goal can be a “turning point” for the 29-year-old, named Arsenal’s Player of the Season last term, in the remainder of the current campaign.
The Gunners have five Premier League matches to play as well as an FA Cup semi-final clash with Manchester City at Wembley, all this month.
“Well, he really needed that, but when I asked him to come in, in three seconds he was ready to jump on the pitch,” Arteta said after the win over Wolves.
“Things like this happen and he had a great movement of the ball, a great touch and a great finish.
“We need to give him more opportunities to be able to do more of that.
“But I’m so happy for him because he completely deserves that for the way that he trains and plays every day.”
Arsenal temporarily moved within six points of fourth after their triumph at Molineux before Chelsea won to put the north London outfit eight points away from the final Champions League spot.
Arteta added: “I am in the race to try and win against Leiecteser and then let’s see what happens.
“Two weeks ago it [a top-four finish] looked impossible and we know the fixtures that we have in the next few weeks…
“We try to improve as a team every time to give us a better chance, the better we play the better we compete.
“At this level of intensity if we play like this against any team we will make it hard from them and then we will see.”