Mikel Arteta says he wants to keep Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang “under any circumstances”. Also, the club needs to discuss a new deal with their captain before the end of the season.
Arsenal would be in a relegation scrap without Aubameyang’s goals. Despite the glaring Europa League miss against Olympiacos, he’s their modern-day Thierry Henry and they must hang on to him.
Aubameyang has scored 20 goals in all competitions for Arsenal this year. However, his current contract expires at the end of the 2020-21 season. The 30-year-old is, therefore, a reported target for clubs including Barcelona and Inter Milan.
Contrarily, Arteta doesn’t need the Gabon striker to leave the club. He says, “For me, it is very easy. I want to keep him under any circumstances.”
Additionally, Arteta said, Arsenal will “for sure” have to speak to Aubameyang about a new deal “before the end of the season”. Nonetheless, the nature of the talks could depend on how the Gunners fare this season.
“We will see the intentions that we have and his intentions.” Said Arteta.
“Where we are sitting on the table at that moment. I think it is difficult to predict that context right now.”
Aubameyang missed a glaring chance to send Arsenal through with the last kick of the match against Olympiakos. He seemingly had placed his side on course to progress with a goal in extra-time before Youssef El Arabi’s late winner.
“He felt responsible for what happened. 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.” Said Arteta.
“We need him happy, smiling and full of energy.”
Aubameyang missed Monday’s FA Cup fifth-round win against Portsmouth but is expected to start against West Ham in the Premier League at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Aubameyang the modern-day Thierry Henry
A blink while watching Aubameyang’s goals against Everton last week, you could easily imagine back in the days when Arsenal won trophies for fun.
Was it the ducking and diving, the immaculate timing of the run, the lethal acceleration to storm clear or the No 14 on the back of the shirt?
Whatever there was, there was something distinctly Thierry Henry about the finish. While the Frenchman would have probably scored the guilt-edged chance, Aubameyang missed in the defeat against Olympiacos. His importance to Arsenal and their prospects now is similar to Henry’s significance 15 years ago.
Aubameyang’s impact comes at a time of scant glory for the Gunners. Their fans must drear to think of where they’d be at the moment without his goals.
He missed the chance to send Arsenal through to the Europa League last-16. But, his importance to the Gunners is as vital as ever, as his sensational acrobatic kick proved on Thursday night.
In this case, take away Aubameyang’s goals for Arsenal and the club would be the second bottom staring relegation in the face.