They weren’t allowed to hug or high-five due to Covid-19 protocols, but that didn’t stop Ian Wright and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang having an emotional chinwag on the Emirates pitch yesterday.
The club’s one-time record-goalscorer greeted the current club captain after he’d confirmed his much-anticipated contract extension and couldn’t help but fawn over the young pretender’s ambitions for the next few years.
If you’ve not watched the video, you can see it here. Alternatively, you can read a few of our favourite snippets, below.
IW: What was your thinking in the end to say, ‘Yes, I’m staying’?
PEA: You know, I had quite a lot of time to think about it, I mean I’m thinking about it since a year [ago].
IW: Is it all you’re thinking about all the time?
PEA: Not all the time. Sometimes you think about other things, but for sure it was one of the biggest things. I also had a chat with Mikel, that I think he gave me something very clear about the idea of the future of the club and about me.
IW: What did he say about you?
PEA: He said…he was straight and honest, and that’s what I like because we’re always honest. He said, ‘Okay, you can maybe leave. I don’t know what your mind is [thinking] right now, but you can leave and go for trophies at other clubs or you can stay here and have a legacy. This, for me, was the key word.
IW: You see you mentioned, the boss? I love the boss already. When you spoke to him, how big a factor was Mikel? Remember, we’re talking about a coach coming in who hasn’t been a manager yet, you’re at the stage of your career where you could go because of the offers you had, he’s coming in to help with the project, you don’t actually know how it’s going to work out. Obviously now we’ve seen it’s worked out magnificently, what was it about him and that conversation that made you say, ‘Yes’? Because he’s been confident that you were going to sign every time you hear him speaking.
PEA: As I said, he convinced me. We had a chat when we were in lockdown. He called me. Normally we have to speak about a game. I had to do a summary.
IW: OK, what do you mean? You have to explain how the game…
PEA: You have to explain how the game works.
PEA: You know? He called me and said, ‘Forget about it.’ I prepared maybe two pages and he said, ‘Yeah, forget about it. Let’s talk about real things.’ He said, ‘I want to be honest with you, how do you feel?’ And I was like, ‘I have to say the truth, I feel very good.’ It was maybe two months, or three months that he was here and the training, you can feel the passion. You can feel everything from this guy. He is so good I mean, and he’s the kind of guy who you can trust in him. That’s why I said to him I feel very good. Yeah, what you said to me about legacy and stuff, I really think about it. I think it is the right way, the true way to go.
IW: How many goals are you going for this season?
PEA: Hopefully more than last season, definitely!
IW: No man, you need to be aiming for 30 a season!
PEA: For sure. Look as the guys that came in. I think we can do something very big. And also the young players as well, they are coming like fire and this is why I stay. Because I know we have something to do. I said a few months ago that the best is to come for sure, for Arsenal. It’s time for everyone to respect our club.