Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is understandably wanted by some of Europe’s biggest clubs, and Arsenal must do all they can to ‘fulfil’ the forward’s desires if they are to keep hold of him.
This is according to Gunners boss Mikel Arteta, who admits the only way Aubameyang will stay in north London is if Arsenal can qualify for the ‘biggest competitions’ and sign the ‘best players’.
Aubameyang, the Gabon international, netted twice in Sunday’s 3-2 defeat of Everton to take his goal tally for the season to 19, and his total with the Gunners to a remarkable 60 strikes in only 95 appearances.
While his quality in front of goal has never been questioned, there were doubts over Aubameyang’s work rate and team ethic during the reign of former Arsenal head coach Unai Emery.
However, since Arteta arrived at the Emirates there has been a huge U-turn from Aubameyang who is now doing everything he can to secure Arsenal victory; to prove this, he made a joint game-high three tackles in the defeat of Everton.
With just a year-and-a-half remaining on his contract, questions have been asked of Arsenal’s ability to keep the 30-year-old in north London beyond the end of the season.
He was linked with Barcelona last month as the LaLiga giants chased a new forward to replace the injured Luis Suarez, and Arteta cannot blame rival clubs for looking at such a prolific goalscorer.
“Before I took over I had my questions about him but he has shown his commitment,” said the Gunners boss. “I wanted him to show if he wanted to do it and do it physically.
“I’m so happy with him. He is scoring important goals and as a captain he is giving a great example to everyone else with the way he is working defensively.
“They are completely right to want him because he is a superb player. It’s right that big teams like him.”
Arsenal, naturally, want to keep Aubameyang and tie him down to an extended deal.
There are challenges facing the north Londoners, however, and Arteta is fully aware he will struggle to convince Aubameyang into staying given Arsenal cannot offer the same temptations as Barcelona.
“Hopefully we can convince him this is right place to be,” he added. “I think it’s been tough for him because he has big expectations.
“He wants to play in the biggest competitions and with the best players. We have to help him do that. He needs to feel fulfilled.
“He is our most important player, no doubt the impact he has in this team. We will have to convince him to stay with us.”
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