Martin Keown admits success is going to have to be delivered in north London in order for two proven frontmen to ignore reported interest from afar

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Arsenal have to “work very quickly” if they are to convince Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette to stay at the club, says Martin Keown.

Both men have sparked talk of interest from afar in recent transfer windows, with Liga giants Barcelona said to be among their suitors.

The Gunners are aware that tangible success will be required in order to keep two prolific frontmen on their books.

Aubameyang is yet to extend a contract due to run until 2021, while Lacazette is only tied to the north London outfit for a further 12 months beyond that point.

Keown concedes that a team still struggling for consistency under Unai Emery faces a battle to keep a couple of prized assets out of the clutches of a rival.

The former Arsenal defender told Metro: “Well it’s imperative that you hang onto your best players.

“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.”

Keown is not surprised by a lack of movement on the contract front at Arsenal.

He can understand why two players at the peak of their powers will want to feel as though they can compete for major honours before committing to any long-term project.

There is, however, still a chance for the Gunners to prove that they can match the ambition of Aubameyang and Laczette, while allowing them to become legendary figures in the process.

Keown added: “Of course they’re waiting [to sign a contract] 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.

“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 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.”

Aubameyang and Lacazette have been short of goals and full fitness in recent weeks, but Arsenal will be back in Premier League action on Saturday at home to struggling Southampton.

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