Alexandre Lacazette responds to rumours he has agreement with Arsenal over exit

Alexandre Lacazette has denied reports that he has a gentlemen’s agreement to leave Arsenal this summer and insists he is happy at the north London club and wants to stay.

The French forward’s current contract with Arsenal expires in 2022 and he is yet to agree terms over an extension, with a recent report in The Times claiming there was an ‘understanding’ that he would be allowed to leave if the club miss out on the Champions League.

Both Lacazette and Arsenal teammate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – whose own contract expires in 2021 – have been repeatedly linked with transfers, with Gunners chiefs unwilling to let star players run down their contracts and lose value.

If Lacazette enters the final six months of his contract, he would be able to sign a pre-contract agreement and leave for nothing, but he insists he is not currently thinking about leaving Arsenal.

Asked directly about the rumoured agreement he could leave, Lacazette said at Thursday’s Europa League press conference: ‘I didn’t know about this, so…’

Probed on whether he knew where the speculation had come from, he continued: ‘No, I don’t know. I have a contract with the club, so there is no point for me to leave if everybody is happy with me at the club.’

Asked about the importance of Aubameyang staying too, Lacazette added: ‘It’s really important. He is one of the best – or maybe the best – this season for Arsenal.

‘Obviously I hope that he is going to stay a long time at the club.’

Lacazette had gone on a long goal drought before finally scoring against Newcastle last week and he feels he has emerged as a stronger player as a result of those struggles.

Asked if this season has been the hardest of his career, the Frenchman said: ‘Not hard, but I would say difficult. But as well, it’s with this kind of moment we improve a lot, mentally, and we keep now big confidence because if I went through this I know I can be better now.’

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