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Mikel Arteta faces make-or-break decision over his “manager’s dream” at Arsenal

Mikel Arteta and Arsenal refreshed their squad with a £150m outlay in the summer transfer window, but the future of Arteta’s “manager’s dream” is yet to be clarified

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Nottingham Forest v Arsenal pictures

As the prospect of a nightmare exit from the FA Cup loomed over Arsenal, Mikel Arteta turned to his “manager’s dream”.

With 20 minutes of normal time remaining in their clash against Nottingham Forrest on Sunday, Arteta made a bold, attacking move, hauling off young midfielder Charlie Patino and introducing an extra striker in Alexandre Lacazette.

It did little to improve matters as Lewis Grabban slid home the winner and Lacazette simply did not have enough time to influence the match.

However, the days and months left on the Frenchman’s deal are ticking down almost as fast as the final seconds off their FA Cup campaign.

And Arteta, Edu, and perhaps most importantly, Lacazette must decide what their next respective moves are.

HAVE YOUR SAU! Should Arsenal stick or twist with Alexandre Lacazette? Comment below






Mikel Arteta has to figure out his stance on Alexandre Lacazette’s future at Arsenal

The Arsenal boss’ reliance and trust in Lacazette’s leadership, link-up play, and goals is perhaps one of the key reasons why he felt he could afford to jettison Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the squad.

Since Arteta banished the former captain, Lacazette has shouldered the responsibility perfectly, scoring two goals and contributing three assists in five Premier League matches, compared to his previous record of one goal in 10 League appearances.

The captain’s armband was thrust onto the former Lyon striker’s arm almost as quickly as it was stripped off Aubameyang, but the 30-year-old striker has not buckled under its weight.

Ever since Arteta replaced Unai Emery, Lacazette has been one of his most trusted lieutenants.

After scoring the winning goal 29 seconds after coming off the bench in a 1-0 away victory against Brighton and Hove Albion in December 2020, Arteta lovingly described the Frenchman as a “manager’s dream”.

“I think this is what all the managers dream of, to bring people from the bench and win you the game like he’s done tonight,” Arteta said in December 2020. “We need big players and the senior players to step up in these difficult moments and he’s doing that for sure.”






Alexandre Lacazette is currently destined to leave Arsenal for nothing at the end of his contract

Yet, their time together will come to a very abrupt end if a new deal is not agreed before the end of the season. Lacazette is well into the final six months of his Arsenal contract and is subsequently free to negotiate and agree pre-contract agreements with perspective clubs.

Arsenal’s pursuit of Fiorentina hitman Dusan Vlahovic and their initial interest in Everton marksman Dominic Calvert-Lewin suggests Arteta and Edu have alternative plans.

However, uncertainty and unpredictability is down every avenue of the January transfer window – and there is sometimes no school like the old school.

Eddie Nketiah was deployed against Steve Cooper’s side at the City Ground but struggled to take the game by the scruff of its neck.






Eddie Nketiah’s future at Arsenal is also uncertain

Aside from an excellent headed opportunity in the second-half, Nketiah could not find a way through the stubborn Forrest defence,

Nketiah’s currently in the same boat which seems to be drifting away from the Emirates Stadium as Lacazette.

A variety of clubs appear to be circling north London in preparation for the 22-year-old’s contract expiration at the end of June.

However, Lacazette’s experience and leadership adds an extra tricky dimension to his potential exit.

Barring a miraculous repair in Aubameyang and Arteta’s friendship, Lacazette is the only senior striker at the club and one of Arteta’s top leaders.

Youthful exuberance and energy needs experienced direction, and the 30-year-old is one of few players capable of providing that for the Gunners. The worst-case scenario Arteta is facing is the prospect of losing all three of his centre-forwards before next season.

Providing they can recover from their disappointment in the cup and the preceding heart-breaking loss to Manchester City, Champions League qualification is still on the cards.

But their current situation in the frontline could trouble and even unsettle their squad, and that is certainly not a “managers dream”.

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