Mikel Arteta says it’s hard to assess Arsenal’s chances of persuading Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to stay at the Emirates but admits it’s a conversation that needs to happen before the end of the season.
The Gunners have long been keen to tie down the club captain to a new deal, however, since negotiations stalled earlier in the year little progress has been made.
It’s no secret that Europe’s top clubs are keeping tabs on the striker, who will be out of contract in the summer of 2021, and that his wage demands could be problematic if we’re without Champions League football next year.
Facing the media ahead of Saturday’s clash with West Ham, Arteta said he’s desperate to keep Aubameyang.
“We will have to do that at some stage before the end of the season for sure and we will see the intentions that we have,” he said.
“His intentions. Where we are sitting in 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.”
The boss also touched on what he and his players have been doing to cheer up Aubameyang since the Europa League exit to Olympiacos. The striker missed a golden chance in the dying seconds to put us through and has said he feels responsible.
“He was down,” said Arteta. “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.
“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.”