French striker Alexandre Lacazette will leave Arsenal when his contract expires this month, the Premier League club said on Friday, bringing the curtain down on his five-year stint with the north London side.
Lacazette, who scored 71 goals and provided 36 assists for Arsenal in all competitions, said farewell to the club’s fans in a tweet.
“Once a Gunner, always a Gunner,” he wrote.
Signed in 2017 for a then club-record 46.5 million pounds from French side Olympique Lyonnais, Lacazette was the club’s top scorer in a season twice.
But the 31-year-old lost his place in the starting lineup this season after scoring only six goals in all competitions.
“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,” manager Mikel Arteta said in a statement.
Arsenal 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.”
In an interview with the club’s official website, Laca had said, “I want to keep all the good moments I had in the club, because for me it was just a pleasure to play for a club that, since I was young, I dreamt of. I’m really happy to have played for five years for Arsenal.”
“I want to say thank you, a big thank you because there was a lot of expectation from me when I signed, the welcome was amazing for me. I felt straight away comfortable to play for the team and during my five years it’s been amazing with the fans in the stadium. Thank you for the song as well, I never talked about it, but it really touched me a lot and, a big thank you for everything. I’ll keep in contact with my team-mates, with the coaches, with the club. I supported Arsenal since I was young, so obviously I’m going to keep supporting them. I know I will come back to the stadium as well,” he added.
Before joining Arsenal, Lacazette spent 14 years on the books at Lyon scoring 129 goals in 275 appearances.
Arsenal have been heavily linked with a move for Manchester City‘s Gabriel Jesus, and Lacazette’s departure opens up a berth in Mikel Arteta’s squad.