Alexandre Lacazette injury could help Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal’s summer transfer plan

Arsenal: Arteta says Lacazette is glue that holds team together

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta may now be forced into a change of striker up front for the remainder of the season following the injury suffered by Alexandre Lacazette on Sunday. Lacazette limped off with a hamstring problem in the second half of the 1-1 draw with Fulham at the Emirates. Initial reaction to the injury from Arteta was not good, with a scan set to take place on Tuesday to discover the extent of the issue.

Lacazette has failed to reach the heights expected of him at Arsenal following his then club-record arrival from Lyon in 2017.

However, he was on course for his best season in front of goal before the injury.

Lacazette has 17 goals in 39 appearances in all competitions, including four in his previous two before Sunday’s draw.

The absence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who continues to recover from Malaria, has given the Frenchman an extended run in the side.

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But Arteta will now likely have to call upon either Eddie Nketiah or Folarin Balogun in the business end of the season.

Academy star Balogun looks set to end speculation over his future by signing a new four-year contract.

Nketiah came on for Lacazette on Sunday instead of Balogun and scored the late equaliser, so is clearly Arteta’s preferred option at the moment.

But his long-term future at Arsenal is in doubt, with his contract set to expire in 2022.

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How Nketiah finishes the season could help Arteta’s plans for the summer transfer window.

With Lacazette’s future also up in the air – his contract expires next year – Nketiah has the chance to prove he has what it takes to be the long-term replacement.

But a poor end to the campaign could see Arteta look to cash in on the England under-21 international, with West Ham reportedly interested.

Arsenal fans are excited by the promise of Balogun and Lacazette’s absence may also give the teenager more of a chance to prove he is first-team ready for next season.

But again, if Arteta feels he cannot rely on Balogun yet then he could delve into the market.

Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard has long been linked with a move to the Emirates, though Leicester are also interested in the Frenchman.

Arteta prefers Aubameyang off the left and the Gabon star’s goal return this season proves Arsenal may need to bolster that area of the pitch.

Lacazette being unavailable could give Nketiah and Balogun an unexpected chance.

Now it is down to the young duo to show they can take it, or Arteta will look externally for alternatives.

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