Arteta hails ‘fantastic’ leader Lacazette as Arsenal exit confirmed

The France international is out of contract in north London on June 30 and will not sign an extension, instead departing on a free transfer.

Lacazette leaves Arsenal having scored 71 goals in 206 total appearances across all competitions, winning the FA Cup in 2020 and Community Shield in 2017, also wearing the captain’s armband following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move to Barcelona in January.

He is now expected to rejoin French side Lyon, the club he originally left for Arsenal in a then club-record £46.5million deal in the summer of 2016.

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta paid glowing tribute to the departing Lacazette, hailing his leadership qualities and significant influence behind the scenes at the Emirates.

“Laca has been a fantastic player for us. He’s been a real leader on and off the pitch and has been a very important influence to our younger players,” Arteta said.

“His commitment with us has been exceptional and we wish him and his family success and happiness.”

Arsenal technical director Edu also hailed Lacazette’s impact during his six years at the club, adding: “A big thank you to Laca from everyone at Arsenal.

“He’s been really important for us. He will always be part of the Arsenal family and we wish him well for everything in the future.”

Lacazette’s expected exit leaves Arsenal notably short on forwards with record signing Nicolas Pepe also potentially on his way out, though Eddie Nketiah has performed a U-turn over his own future and agreed a new long-term contract.

Arteta is expected to significantly bolster his frontline once the summer transfer window opens, with Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus the Spaniard’s main striker target.

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