Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has urged the club to sit down with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in a bid to tie him down to a new contract at The Emirates.
Aubameyang has arguably been Arsenal’s best player this season having netted 17 Premier League goals, the division’s joint-best record.
However, with only one year left on his deal at the end of the season, the Gabon international has been heavily linked with a move away from North London.
Speaking in a press conference on Thursday, Arteta also admitted that it is hard to predict how those talks will go given that 10th-placed Arsenal are fighting a losing battle for Champions League football next season.
“We will have to [hold talks] at some stage before the end of the season for sure and we will see the intentions that we have [and] his intentions,” the Spaniard said.
“Where we are sitting in [the table at] that moment. I think it is difficult to predict that context right now. For me it is very easy. I want to keep him under any circumstances.”
Arsenal’s other route to make sure of Champions League football next season was cut off following their shock Europa League exit at the hands of Olympiacos last Thursday.
Aubameyang was left visibly upset after missing a fine last-gasp chance to send Arsenal through but Arteta has revealed the former Borussia Dortmund forward is now over the disappointment and ready to kick on.
“He was down. He felt responsible for what happened,” he said.
“We all tried to convince him that even though he had the best chance of the game, he was the one who put us in that situation earlier.
“He’s done it (scored) on many occasions this season and last season. We need him happy, smiling and full of energy. That’s the way he’s looked for the last few days.”
In other news, Arsenal have reportedly earmarked Gent striker Jonathan David as a replacement striker should Aubameyang leave the club.
Canada international David has been in sensational form for his Belgian employers this season, having scored 23 goals and assisted 10 others.