Mikel Arteta has admitted that he already knows what he wants the future to hold for out-of-contract trio Eddie Nketiah, Alexandre Lacazette and Mohamed Elneny at Arsenal.
The three players will all see their contracts expires in a matter of weeks and will be free to leave the Emirates. Talks over extensions have been in the pipeline for months, although the club has wanted to get the season out of the way before making any decisions.
Nketiah and Elneny especially finished the season strongly, which could yet be a deciding factor. The former has come through the club’s academy and has enjoyed a rare run of games as the club’s first choice striker. Nketiah though has been open about his desire to play more regularly. Lacazette meanwhile has talked about his next move and discussed a return to Ligue 1.
Arteta has revealed the discussions with the trio are on the cards but the club have made decisions of whether to offer the players new deals or not. He said: “I will speak to the three players now or tomorrow and after that we will need to move on. But we have clear ideas of what we want to do.”
He continued: “‘It’s been decided but it’s very difficult to communicate it. What they deserve is to have a little bit of what they had today, but to do it earlier one way or the other with three situations like that is very, very awkward and it could affect the team.
“So as a club we have to do the right thing, in the right moment and sometimes to have those two things combine is not easy at all. But we will try to do the right thing.”
Elneny, however, appeared to be spotted signing papers, which has sparked suggestions that he is staying in north London. The Egyptian was seen posing for photos with the club’s photographer and pictures posted on social media. Elneny has previously headed out on loan in search of more minutes, but with Thomas Partey absent he has been a regular alongside Granit Xhaka.
Should Nketiah and Lacazette both leave then Arsenal will be in desperate need of a new No 9. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was allowed to quit the club in January and Arteta could find himself seeking a new forward. Despite that, the Spaniard has consistently talked up Nketiah.
He said: “When you see Eddie training the way he trains, he doesn’t even need to play, you know you have a player there that is going to help you. And he’s done that, you look at his numbers with the amount of games he’s played and it’s terrific.”