Mikel Arteta says he’s a big fan of Alexandre Lacazette and he wouldn’t like to lose the player this summer, amid speculation around his future.

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Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette (L) celebrates scoring a goal with Lucas Torreira (R) on July 15, 2020. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Alexandre Lacazette came in for a fair bit of criticism in the weeks after football’s return, but Mikel Arteta says he is ‘really happy’ with the striker.

Despite scoring in both of Arsenal’s friendly matches over the break, Lacazette then went five games without a goal for the Gunners. The Frenchman had chances, too, they just didn’t seem to go in.

He turned things around after a goal in a substitute appearance against Wolves, however, scoring two more in the next three games. He also provided an assist for the winner against Liverpool in midweek. Arteta says he likes what he’s seeing from the striker.

“Yes, I really like Alex,” Arteta said. “I said that even before I joined here that he is the type of striker that I really like. I think he had periods where he was very unlucky, because he was having the chances and not converting them, which he is not used to.

“But 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, I am really happy with him.

“Why would I want to lose a player like him? I’m really happy with him.”

Should Arsenal hold onto Lacazette?

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal (obscured) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's second goal during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal FC at Molineux on July 04, 2020 in Wolverhampton, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Mike Egerton/Pool via Getty Images)
WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal (obscured) celebrates with teammates on July 04, 2020. (Photo by Mike Egerton/Pool via Getty Images)

There’s no doubt that when Lacazette is in this kind of form, he’s a valuable player to the side. Very few others could score the way he did against Spurs, and to contribute to both goals in a comeback win over the Premier League champions was huge.

But he has to keep doing it consistently. Lacazette’s Arsenal career so far has involved a lot of patchy form, with long periods of no goals followed by a few in consecutive games. All strikers suffer from poor form occasionally, but not quite as often.

Another good performance against Manchester City, even if it’s not enough to get the win over a very strong side, would be another step in the right direction for the 29-year-old ahead of a pivotal summer.

If his form drops off again, it’s hard to justify keeping faith when Arsenal could cash in instead. If he can end the season strongly, he’s definitely making it a different conversation.