According to the Metro, Mikel Arteta has reiterated that he has a ‘very clear plan’ for Arsenal when quizzed by Premier League Productions on the future of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The report states that Aubameyang’s contract with the north London outfit expires next summer, with the club no closer to sealing the talisman’s future after recent talks.
Aubameyang recently told Telefoot that Arsenal hold the ‘keys’ to his future, adding that it’s up to the Gunners ‘to do their work’ and seal a new deal for him.
The Metro claim that Arteta is keen on signing Aubameyang to new terms – which would make the 30-year-old the club’s second highest paid player behind Mesut Ozil.
Arteta appeared to deflect the matter when pushed for answers, going with a more generic response that the club are ‘moving in the right direction’.
The Spaniard did however stress that the Gunners are in a ‘very difficult position’ financially when it comes to this issue, as the club have a Champions League ‘structure’ – but the Gunners have been out of the competition for a few years now, which has created ‘instability’ in Arteta’s own words.
Arteta reiterated his plan for the Gunners when quizzed about Aubameyang’s future:
“We have a very clear plan of what we want to do from now on. The players know where the club is standing and we are moving in the right direction.”
Here’s what Arteta had to say on how Champions League qualification may factor into keeping hold of Aubameyang:
“Financially for the club the fact that in the last three years we haven’t had any Champions League it puts the club in a very difficult position,”
“We have a structure that is designed to be in the Champions League so when we don’t have that financially it creates a lot of issues and instability.”
“But that’s the situation we are facing. We have ten games to go, we have to go full gas and get as high as possible in the table.”
Aubameyang has been prolific since joining Arsenal two-and-a-half-years ago from Borussia Dortmund, the striker has bagged 49 goals and chipped in with 10 assists in 75 Premier League appearances.
The Gabon superstar was a joint-winner of the top-flight’s Golden Boot in his first full season last time out and 17 goals this term put Aubameyang in contention for the honour once more.
The superstar, who has been appointed as Arsenal’s captain following Granit Xhaka’s fallout with fans this season, is only behind Jamie Vardy in the league’s scoring charts.
Arsenal should do their best to keep hold of the star, it doesn’t seem as though the Gunners could find someone else as clinical as Aubameyang if the star was to leave.
If Champions League qualification is the club’s only hope of convincing the skipper to stay, they may be in a sticky spot as they’re currently five points off rivals Manchester United who sit fifth in the league.
As it stands, the fifth-place should come with a Champions League spot, as long as Manchester City’s ban from UEFA is upheld.
The Gunners need to be relentless when the season resumes if they are to have any serious chance of snatching qualification for Europe’s elite club competition.