Arsenal

Mikel Arteta has clear preference for striker to replace Lacazette at Arsenal

Arsenal prospect Mika Biereth has shed light on what Arteta demands from his centre-forwards ahead of what is expected to be a busy summer transfer window

A fast rising Arsenal talent has provided a valuable insight into the kind of striker Mikel Arteta will target as Alexandre Lacazette ‘s replacement this summer.

Lacazette, 30, is out of contract at the end of the season and he is not expected to extend his five-year stay at the Emirates. The Frenchman has only scored six goals in all competitions this season but he continues to lead the line following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s January departure for Barcelona.

Arteta clearly values Lacazette’s ability to be a foil for those around him – such as Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe – and he has contributed a club-leading eight assists. Under-23 prospect Mika Biereth has explained how the Spaniard requires his strikers to drop deep and impact the game from between the opposition’s midfield and defence.

Biereth, 19, joined the Gunners from Fulham last summer and is enjoying a fruitful first season in North London, scoring 11 goals in 24 appearances. The London-born Denmark youth international has already been training with the senior squad having been named on the bench for a handful of first-team fixtures this season.

Opening up on what he has learned from the senior Arsenal manager, Biereth told The Athletic : “Mikel Arteta likes the striker to play in the No. 10 pocket, so it’s just about adding those little things. Becoming comfortable dropping into that space where midfielders open it up for you, which we didn’t really do at Fulham.

“At Fulham, in my two years as a scholar, we played a 4-4-2 with a diamond. We didn’t play (intricate) football as much – it was more channel balls and fighting (for the ball). At Arsenal, it’s a different style.

“Flo (Balogun) came and we played two up front but we played close together as a pair. He’s gone (to Middlesbrough) so now we play with one No. 10 and one striker – you’ve just got to be flexible.” Biereth will hope to continue excelling for the U23s and has already proved he can be a creative force by chipping in with five assists this season.

Meanwhile, Arsenal chiefs must assemble a shortlist of strikers to pursue in the summer transfer window. Benfica ace Darwin Nunez is understood to be a key target and the Gunners sent scouts to watch him in action against Liverpool on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old Uruguay international scored against the Reds after pouncing on Ibrahima Konate’s mishit clearance to take his tally to 28 goals in 35 appearances this season. Elsewhere, Arsenal reportedly retain interest in Real Sociedad frontman Alexander Isak and Lille forward Jonathan David.