Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette will leave if Arsenal don’t improve, warns Martin Keown

Martin Keown admits it’s ‘imperative’ that Arsenal keep hold of star duo Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette but insists the only way of keeping the pair is if the Gunners are successful.

The club have been in negotiations with both forwards over contract extensions in the last six months but they’ve made little progress in talks.

Aubameyang, 30, was made club captaincy after the armband was stripped from Granit Xhaka but there’s less than two years left on his current deal and the Gabon forward has attracted attention from Barcelona.

There is slightly less of a rush to extend Lacazette’s deal given the Frenchman’s existing contract runs until 2022 but the pair’s future is entwined and it’s likely that one will follow the other in extending.

But Keown believes it’s paramount that the club focus on convincing the pair to stay, though he’s warned they’ll only do so if the Gunners prove they can fight for trophies.

‘Well it’s imperative that you hang onto your best players,’ Keown told Metro.co.uk at Sportsmail’s ‘A Pint with Piers’ event in London.

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‘That’s always the first thing every summer – you want to keep your players first and then add to it. You wouldn’t want to lose Aubameyang or Lacazette but they’ll only stay if Arsenal are successful. There’s no time to lose for Arsenal, they have to go to work very quickly. There could be some difficult decisions ahead.’

Unai Emery has come under increased pressure in recent weeks and it could be that the duo are waiting to see how the Spanaird’s future plays out before making their own decisions on whether to extend.

Arsenal are also currently outside the top four and may need to win the Europa League to qualify for the Champions League. Keown believes the lack of progress over new deals is down to the pair’s reluctance to commit to the club while there’s so much uncertainty in the air.

‘Of course they’re waiting but they can change history themselves. They can make the change because they’re there, they can inscribe a name on a trophy every year,’ said Keown.

‘They are good professionals. I don’t have a difficulty with those two, it’s more how good is the team? Is the team well enough equipped?

‘If they [Aubameyang and Lacazette] don’t think it is then they won’t sign and we’ll lose two other good players. That’s normal. It’s no different for Arsenal as it is for Spurs or Chelsea.’

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