Arsenal: Arteta tells Lacazette to focus on pitch
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is planning to promote Miguel Azeez later in the season, according to reports. The Spaniard has seen young trio Joe Willock, Bakuyo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe all impress when called upon this term. And it seems he’s ready to use the club’s academy as he looks to steer them up the Premier League table.
With funds tight at Arsenal, Arteta has been forced to use players from the club’s academy.
And, with superstars such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe misfiring, that decision has paid off.
Saka has been the best of the bunch for Arsenal, with the 19-year-old scoring three goals and resisting one assist from 15 league matches this term.
Willock has done well in recent weeks, too, while Smith Rowe’s impressive performances at No 10 has provided the club with some much-needed creativity.
And the Independent claim Azeez is the next player primed to be promoted to the first-team setup.
The 18-year-old has caught the eye in the Premier League 2 this term, making nine appearances and registering one assist along the way.
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Arsenal require more steel in the middle of the park and Azeez could provide that.
However, while a promotion is on the cards, Arteta is said to be ready to make that decision later in the campaign rather than now.
In other Arsenal transfer news, the Gunners are ready to cull their squad this month as they look to get several players off the books.
Mesut Ozil could finally be sold, with the Germany international not making a single appearance for the club this term.
Sead Kolasinac, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis may also be cut loose, while Arsenal will review the situations of Granit Xhaka and Alexandre Lacazette later on.
And Arteta confirmed on New Year’s Day that he was ready to overhaul his squad, saying: “We have a large squad and we knew that.
“A lot of things that should have happened in the summer, we could not accomplish for different reasons.
“There are some players who will go on loan or leave and that is the priority at the moment.
“We cannot sustain the numbers that we have in certain positions and we are looking to do that, and then we will see if we have the right opportunity in the positions where we need some more help.”
Arteta also singled out Saka for praise, adding: “For me, the biggest thing that he’s done in the past few months is the personality that he plays with and the responsibility he takes.
“Also the decisions he’s willing to make when things are not going well and the impact he’s had on the team to get results.
“That’s in his nature and he wants to evolve that.
“You can see his team-mates trust him, they still want to give him that responsibility and that’s great.
“He’s a great example to any young player to play with that commitment, that passion but as well, with that courage, you need when you play for a big team.”
Arsenal are next in action against Newcastle in the FA Cup on Saturday (5.30pm).
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