At the start of August, it was claimed that Alexandre Lacazette was unhappy with Mikel Arteta’s plans to build his team around his very good friend, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and wanted to Atletico Madrid in a huff, so how is that story developing?

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 11: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal celebrates after scoring his team's first goal with teammate Alexandre Lacazette during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal FC at Selhurst Park on January 11, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 11: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal with teammate Alexandre Lacazette during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal FC at Selhurst Park on January 11, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

There is, of course, every chance that Arsenal could sell Alexandre Lacazette this summer as he is one of only a few players at the club with a decent resale value, but I very much doubt the forward is throwing a strop quite in the way it’s being portrayed.

The Daily Star reported Arsenal will ask £30m for the Frenchman who was Arsenal’s Player of the Season in 18/19.

The Star and the Mirror, which has picked the story up from the Star, went on to claim Lacazette is unhappy at playing second fiddle to Auba which, to be fair, is a little like being unhappy you’re in the same team as Lionel Messi.

It just doesn’t make sense.

They story, however, has not gone away. Atletico Madrid are now willing to offer Arsenal one of three players, none of whom are called Thomas Partey, in order to land Lacazette. A report in Spain says that a swap deal is the only way the Spaniards can make this happen

Both English publications claim that Lacazette is unhappy at being on the bench so often.

Overall, he did play around 700 fewer league minutes in the 19/20 season compared to the year before (when he scored 13 goals and assisted 10).

19/20 and Lacazette scored 10 and assisted six in the league.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal reacts during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Leicester City at Emirates Stadium on July 07, 2020 in London, 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 Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 07: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal reacts during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Leicester City at Emirates Stadium on July 07, 2020 in London (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Lacazette league minutes at Arsenal

  • 17/18 – 2,211
  • 18/19 – 2,502
  • 19/20 – 1,879

Lacazette total minutes at Arsenal

  • 17/18 – 2,758
  • 18/19 – 3,327
  • 19/20 – 2,581

As you can see, he did indeed play far fewer league minutes this season but overall, he almost matched his total for his first season at the club.

Lacazette played a total of 39 games in all competitions in the 19/20 season, starting 30 of them. He was subbed off 18 times, three fewer than under Arsene Wenger who also handed him 39 games (33 starts).

Both English publications also stated that “the France international was on the bench until Eddie Nketiah’s suspension allowed him back into the side,” which is simply not true. Nketiah was sent off against Leicester, four minutes after coming off the bench in a game Lacazette started.

Laca was on the bench for the game against Wolves before that, but at that point many in the team were being rotated and Lacazette was, on average, starting every other game.

In total, from his 30 Premier League appearances he started 22.

Arsenal's French striker Alexandre Lacazette celebrates after he scores the opening goal of the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg football match between Olympiakos and Arsenal at the Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus, near Athens, on February 20, 2020.
Arsenal’s French striker Alexandre Lacazette celebrates after he scores the opening goal of the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg football match between Olympiakos and Arsenal at the Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus, near Athens, on February 20, 2020. (Photo by LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP via Getty Images)

He did only play the full 90 10 times in the league, but that’s been an issue since Arsene Wenger was at the club. Six of his 90s this season, however, came under Arteta.

The truth of the matter is likely a lot less dramatic than the tabloids are making out. Shocking, I know.

Laca has wanted to play for Atletico Madrid for years and they’ve wanted him on and off throughout that period too.

We all know had it not been for their transfer ban he would have moved there instead of to Arsenal in 2017.

Arsenal, meanwhile, need money and also have Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli at the club.

Mikel Arteta has said that he doesn’t want to lose Lacazette, but the board have already shown with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Mesut Ozil that they make the final decisions.

I would be very surprised indeed if this has anything at all to do with Auba’s star status at the club given how close the two players are.