(Reuters) - Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said on Friday that he is positive about captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future at the club while he does not want to lose striker Alexandre Lacazette.
Aubameyang, the club’s top scorer this season with 20 league goals, is out of contract at the end of next season and has not yet agreed to an extension with the north London club.
“I’ve always been very positive about (Aubameyang’s future). I don’t have the key to the future and in football anything is possible,” Arteta told a virtual news conference ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City.
“But I see his reaction, I see how he’s training every day and know that he’s happy. I talk to him a lot and if we’re able to do it, I think we can do it. We know how important he is to this team.”
When asked if he was prepared to lose Lacazette in the transfer window, Arteta said: “Why would I want to lose a player like him? I’m really happy with him. I said that even before I joined here that he is the type of striker that I really like.
“The way he can link play, he’s a massive competitor he hates to lose. He goes for every ball, you see in every challenge how he’s ready to go. He works really hard and he’s a very intelligent player.”
Arsenal beat Premier League champions Liverpool 2-1 on Wednesday despite having little possession and Arteta said it bodes well for when they are up against Pep Guardiola’s City.
“We cannot expect to be dominant for 90 minutes and I don’t want to be defending deep for 90 minutes,” Arteta said.
“We’ll have our moments in this competition... I don’t expect a similar game to Liverpool but the level of difficulty will be high. I know their strengths and flexibilities they have.”
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis