Arsenal up against a rock and a hard place due to star players

Mikel Arteta took the reins of Arsenal in December and has since steadied the team. The Gunners still have a long way to go to return to the top four and Champions League qualification, however.

Last week, Arteta saw his side crash and burn in the Europa League losing 2-1 to Olypiaicos with the Greek team’s away goals sending them through due to a 2-2 aggregate scoreline.

Arsenal have pressing matters if they want to get better and achieve Champions League qualification once more in 2020-21 and beyond.

Forwards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are both nearing the ends of their respective contracts. Aubameyang is Arsenal’s leading goalscorer 17 goals this term. It is joint-top of the Premier League. He could be free to leave the Emirates in fewer than 18 months. The thought of Aubameyang not being at the club should scare supporters due to the Gabon international calculating 44% of Arsenal’s scoring in the Premier League.

Lacazette’s contract will expire in 2022. Although the Frenchman’s goals haven’t been as plentiful as Aubameyang’s, he has still bagged eight in 25 games in all competitions.

Prior to Arsenal’s Europa League exit at the hands of Olympiacos, Lacazette denied reports he had a “gentlemen’s agreement” with Arsenal to leave the Emirates in the summer.

Both Aubameyang and Lacazette are linked with moves in the offseason. Selling one of the duo wouldn’t set back Arsenal too much, but allowing both to leave could be a mistake.

Aubameyang will turn 31 in June and his re-sale value will never be higher than it is right now. According to Transfermarkt, Aubameyang is valued at £63 million. Arsenal paid £57m for Aubameyang in January 2018.

Arteta at least wants Aubameyang to hang around, but the manager has conceded he could sell both strikers. If both go, Arsenal would then change their transfer plans. Last summer saw the Gunners sign Nicolas Pepe, who has, for all intents and purposes, been a bust. The club would need to focus on signing capable goalscorers to play alongside Gabriel Martinelli.

The need to refocus transfer plans would prevent Arsenal from upgrading other areas, thus causing the club another setback.

Just when it looks like Arsenal are getting their business in order, they could suffer the loss of two significant pieces to the puzzle at the Emirates.