Lacazette: I don't have Champions League exit clause, Arsenal must keep Aubameyang
ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 26: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal during the Arsenal Press Conference at London Colney on February 26, 2020 in St Albans, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal striker Alex Lacazette has revealed he is not aware of a Champions League exit clause in his contract. The Gunners are gearing up to host Olympiacos in the Europa League on Thursday.

Speculation has been rising that the Frenchman will depart the club this summer, with any possible clause aiding attempts to leave.

Lacazette has passed through goal drought

Lacazette had suffered a goal drought until he grabbed a late strike in the 4-0 victory over Newcastle at the Emirates, before making it two in a week in the 1-0 victory over the 44-time Greek champions.  

However, speaking alongside Gunners boss Mikel Arteta in Wednesday's press conference at London Colney the Frenchman said he "didn't know about this [clause].

"I did not know. Yeah, I have a contract with the club so there is no point for me to leave, everybody is happy with me at the club," before he went on to thank boss Arteta and his teammates for their support during his dry spell. 

"I'm a striker but I'm not only here to score goals. I have to help the team to defend, to build up the game. For me, it's not the best thing when I'm not scoring, but they helped me through this.

"There is a pressure, but it's more about me because I want to score and I want to help my team. It was not the pressure of my transfer [fee]."

Arsenal have to keep Aubameyang, Lacazette says

The former Lyon goalscorer also stressed how vital it was for the club to keep his strike partner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The 30-year-old Gabon forward, who signed for Arsenal in a record £56m deal in January 2018 has impressed in a troubled season, netting 19 goals in all competitions this term to make it 60 in only 95 matches during his time with the north Londoners. 

With Barcelona rumoured to be interested in landing the former Borussia Dortmund attacker, Lacazette was adamant the Gunners had to keep Aubameyang.

"It's really important," Lacazette insisted.

"He's one of the best or maybe he's been the best player this season for Arsenal. Obviously I hope he's going to stay."

Lacazette also praised talented youngsters at the club including Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah, adding: "It's nice, it's good for the club, for the team.

"That means there is a lot of quality in the academy. Obviously, they need to improve because they are young."

Arteta previews Arsenal vs Olympiacos

Arsenal boss Arteta has been previewing the Europa League clash with Olympiacos at the Emirates on Thursday.

Arsenal go into the match unbeaten this year and will be keen to keep the run going with the trophy offering a chance of Champions League qualification. 

"I was very pleased with the performance in general," said Arteta reflecting on the first match, adding that "apart from the first 10 minutes when we had some issues to control - defensively, in the final third - some situations and as well, when we gave the ball away in difficult areas when we could've progressed our play and become dangerous.

"But apart from that, the team played with a lot of personality in a very difficult stadium, against a good opponent with a great record in their own stadium. And we managed to score and win the game, which is a positive too.

Arteta reflects on his time in charge so far

The north Londoners will be keen to go one better in this tournament after reaching the final last season only to lose to London rivals Chelsea in Baku, following their exit to Atletico Madrid at the semi-final stage the season before.

Victory in Athens' port of Piraeus a week ago meant that Arsenal moved to 23 wins in the competition, a record for English clubs after moving one ahead of Spurs. 

Arsenal moved up to ninth place in the Premier League after the hard-fought 3-2 win over Everton on Sunday, prompting Arteta to reflect on his time in charge since being appointed before Christmas.

"Well a lot of things happen in two months obviously, in all different areas of the club," he explained, adding: "I think the team is progressing well. I think the club is looking in a better place.

"I think we are getting much more unity in the sections of the club and we are getting a great energy back from the fans when we play at the Emirates and away from the Emirates, there's a lot of positive things but there's still a lot of things to do.

"A lot of things to improve, individually, collectively and as a club and we are in that process at the moment."

Injury updates on Kolasinac, Tierney and Soares

Arteta admitted he feared the worst for defender Sean Kolasinac who injured his right shoulder against Everton at the Emirates on Sunday.

Kolasinac will undergo further specialist assessments during this week.

Left-back Kieran Tierney is expected to be back in full training next week after dislocating his right shoulder during the 3-1 victory over West Ham Utd in early December following the former Celtic left-back making good progress during his rehabilitation.

Arsenal's other injury news sees Cedric Soares progressing well with gym work after injuring his left knee prior to signing on loan from Southampton in the January transfer window - with the defender aiming to be in full training by the end of the month.

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