Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta says he is “pretty positive” of signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to a new deal but admits the club must persuade the striker of his importance and their own ambition.
Aubameyang’s deal expires next summer and he was quoted this week saying he felt at “a turning point” in his career.
The Gabon international has no shortage of admirers should he decide his future lies elsewhere but Arteta thinks an extended stay at the Emirates can be achieved.
“We have many discussions with Pierre, with his family and his agent. I’m pretty positive we can find the right agreement for all parties,” said Arteta, whose side return to Premier League action against his previous employers Manchester City on Wednesday.
“I think it is our responsibility to make him feel this is the right next step in his career. In order to do that he needs to feel valued, he needs to feel he belongs to us and that we want him.
“He really needs to believe we can take this club forward in the way we want to and he’s going to be a key part.”
Aubameyang’s output since joining the Gunners in 2018 has been of the highest standard, with 61 goals in 97 appearances, leading to reported interest from a host of top clubs including Manchester United.
AUBAMEYANG FOCUSED ON ARSENAL
Despite that, and the opaque comments recently attributed to the player in the foreign press, Arteta has seen no suggestion that his head has been turned.
“I think at the moment I am extremely happy with how he’s been performing and behaving,” he said.
“I have a really good relationship with him and we can discuss face to face a lot of things. So far as I’m aware I think he’s very happy at the club.”
Arteta suggested the coronavirus shutdown had played at least some part in the slow progress of negotiations, adding: “In a different context we’d have liked to do things much quicker but obviously it is unprecedented times.
“That brings a lot of uncertainty. But things are getting clearer and clearer every day that we are a step closer to getting back playing football and we want to move forward.”
Arsenal sit ninth in the Premier League ahead of ‘Project Restart’ getting underway on Wednesday.
A top-four finish will be tough for the Gunners, but they could achieve a fifth-placed finish.
Arsenal will qualify for the Champions League in fifth if City have their European ban upheld.