Mikel Arteta has said he has no plans to sell Alex Lacazette in January despite the risk of losing the player for nothing at the end of the season.
The £54million striker is in the final year of his £180,000-a-week Arsenal contract and has not been offered a new deal by the club.
That will leave him free to open talks with foreign teams in the New Year with a view to walking away from the Emirates as a free agent.
And boss Arteta believes that is an option which more major stars will pursue as a result of the bottom dropping out of the transfer market due to Covid.
He says: “Big players running down their contracts is happening more than probably ever before.
“There is a reason for this and we are not the only club facing these kinds of situations after everything else we have had to do over the past 18 months.
“We just have to try to deal with the issues we face in the best possible way, but there are no plans for Laca to leave us in January.
“He is our player and I will continue to treat him like everyone else no matter how long he has left on his contract because that’s what he deserves.”
Lacazette, 30, hasn’t started a single League game this season but came on as a sub to score a priceless 95th-minute equaliser against Crystal Palace on Monday.
And Arteta has never questioned the French international’s commitment to the cause despite his contractual situation.
He says: “I never had any doubts that Laca would continue to give us everything.
“If I did, I probably would have suggested doing something different with him in the summer.
“It’s not the case with Laca that he cannot find his motivation and is only interested in his financial future.
“He has shown that every single day since I have been here and that’s why he is still a really important player for us.
“We have to accept his situation and see what will be the best option for everyone at the end of the season. Anything is possible.”