Mikel Arteta has explained he’s optimistic about Arsenal’s chances of keeping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but stressed, it’s just a feeling, nothing concrete.
The Spaniard has repeatedly gone on record stating his desire to extend the Gabon international’s stay at the club.
The striker, who this week became the fastest player in Arsenal’s history to hit 50 Premier League goals, entered the final year of his contract two days ago and is still deliberating over whether his last big contract should be at the Emirates or not.
Facing the press ahead of Saturday’s trip to Wolves, the boss was asked why he’s so positive on a situation that has dragged on for a long time.
“I don’t know,” said Arteta. “It’s the way I feel, the way I communicate with him, the conversations that I have with him, the people around him and it’s the energy that I sense.
“It’s just my opinion. Things change in football very quickly but when you ask me in that moment how I feel about Auba’s future, in this moment, I feel that he wants to continue with us and keep developing and helping us to be a better team.
He added: “He needs to feel like he’s somewhere that he believes that we can achieve the goals that he has individual and collectively for a long time.
“He’s very settled in the city, his family are really happy here and he’s loved, respected and admired by his teammates which is a huge thing to have in any football club.
“That’s why he gives me positivity, as well I see the enjoyment he’s having, the work rate that he puts in all the time and the decision that he makes to do that every time. That’s where my feelings are coming from.”
Having played alongside Robin van Persie and coached Sergio Aguero, Arteta knows about the importance of having such a prolific talisman at your disposal.
He feels Aubameyang is definitely of the same calibre as the Argentine, who currently sits fourth in the Premier League’s all-time scoring table.
“They have completely different qualities overall but a very common thing which is that they have an incredible ability to put the ball in the back of the net, for sure.
“They are very different characters and players; both ruthless and train to keep scoring goals, both are annoyed if they don’t do so and they are both incredible talents at doing the most difficult thing in football which is scoring goals.”
On comparison with Van Persie, he went on: “When we played with Robin he used to be the difference for us every week.
“I always said that he was probably the striker that I have enjoyed the most playing with because of his intelligence and the overall quality to play around in any position and in any area of the field, as well the quality of his finishing and movement.
“Now we have the luck of having Auba and a player that can do that in any moment of the game and we have to fit him in the right position in the game as much as possible to help as win as many.”