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Arsenal confirm Alexandre Lacazette exit

:Headline: Arsenal confirm Alexandre Lacazette exit:
Arsenal confirm the departure of Alexandre Lacazette at the end of his contract, with the striker now set to re-join Lyon on a free transfer.
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Arsenal have confirmed that Alexandre Lacazette will be leaving the club when his contract expires at the end of the month.

The 31-year-old arrived at the Emirates for a fee of £44.7m in the summer of 2017 and has gone on to make 206 appearances for the North London club in all competitions.

Lacazette has scored 71 goals and provided 36 assists for the Gunners in that time, working under Arsene Wenger, Unai Emery, Freddie Ljungberg and Mikel Arteta over the past five years.

However, Lacazette fell down the pecking order at the club in the 2021-22 season, and the five-year deal that he signed upon his arrival is set to expire at the end of the month.

The former Lyon man was always expected to head for the exit door, and Arsenal have now confirmed Lacazette's departure while also paying tribute to the club captain.

Speaking to arsenal.com, Arteta hailed Lacazette as a "real leader" for the Gunners after handing the Frenchman the armband following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's acrimonious exit for Barcelona.

"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."

Technical director Edu added: "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 opened up on his decision to leave during an exit interview with the club, saying: "We decided to part ways with the club taking a new direction at the end of my contract.

"Now it is time for me to have a new experience and new adventure. It's complicated to choose one highlight over five years. So many good and bad moments but I want to keep hold of all the good moments.

"It was a pleasure to play in a club I dreamed of since I was young. I'm really happy to have played for Arsenal for five years. Once a Gunner, always a Gunner."

Lacazette's two pieces of silverware at Arsenal came in the form of the 2019-20 FA Cup and the 2017 Community Shield, while he was also crowned the club's Player of the Year for the 2018-19 season.

The Frenchman's final season at the Emirates saw him register six goals and eight assists from 36 games in all competitions, although he only managed two Premier League goals from open play.

One of those strikes - the opening goal in a 3-0 win over Southampton in December - was nominated for the Premier League's Goal of the Season before losing out to Mohamed Salah's effort against Manchester City.

Lacazette has reportedly already agreed to return to Lyon following confirmation of his Arsenal departure, with the striker previously spending 14 years with Les Gones and scoring 129 goals before making the switch to Arsenal. body check tags ::

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