Mikel Arteta is optimistic that Arsenal can reach an agreement with captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to extend his contract at the Emirates.
Speculation has circled about the striker’s future for more than a year but the Spaniard feels with the club moving in the right direction under his watch, that he has what he needs to persuade his main man to commit for the long-term.
The Gabon international underlined his importance to the Gunners at Wembley yesterday, netting twice as Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1 to claim the FA Cup.
After the match, the boss was asked for an update on the 31-year-old’s contract situation and whether negotiations might reach a conclusion soon.
“I hope so,” he told his post-game press conference. “Everything is based on my conversations with him, how he sees his future, what I expect from him, the team that I want to build around him and the conversations I have with the people who are very influential around him.
“The club, we all respect and admire him, the players are all behind him. We know the players that we have and we have to value him. I think if we reach all of those points, we’ll make progress.”
On why he’s optimistic, he went on, “You asked me my opinion and that’s the feeling I get with conversations with him and his people, but obviously nothing is done yet and I want to enjoy the victory. Thanks to Auba again for the performance that he had and how much he helped the team.”
Aubameyang’s latest brace took his tally since joining Arsenal to 70 goals and 15 assists in 109 games; a quite extraordinary record. For Arteta it is further proof that he’s working with one of the best in the business.
“Big games require big moments from big players, and he’s delivered that in the semi-final [against Man City] and he’s done it again in the final.
“That’s why you ask about those players. Some were questioning that he couldn’t do it in big games. There we go. He was a big, big part of delivering this trophy. He’s done it and we are so proud to have a player like him in our squad.”