Mikel Arteta has discussed his delight at Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s contract extension at Arsenal, the forward ending speculation surrounding his future by signing a new deal at the Emirates.
The future of the influential club captain had been in doubt as Aubameyang entered the final year of his deal, though the Gabon international has now signed a new three-year extension to remain at the north London side after being convinced of the club’s prospects under Arteta.
Aubameyang has scored prolifically since moving to English football from Borussia Dortmund two-and-a-half-years ago, and his further commitment to the club is a major boost to Arteta’s plans to rebuild the Gunners, the Spaniard describing the forward as ‘a joy to work with’ following his performances in recent months.
“I knew what was coming so I was relaxed,” Arteta told his pre-match press conference. “I’m really pleased to convince Auba to stay, with the terms as well. Also really pleased to see the reaction at Colney and with our fans.
“It’s a joy to work with him. We have a really transparent relationship. The way he behaves and performs is exactly what I want. It took a lot of work so thank you for supporting us because it was key. It was worrying because it’s hard to replace strikers of that calibre.
“I think the big reason Auba’s staying is because we have an incredible football club. He feels how much love he’s got from the fans. I played my part but the club and the people that have been able to put a package together for him to stay deserve credit.”
Arteta has moved to strengthen his side this summer with the signings of Willian and Gabriel, the duo following the permanent arrivals of last season’s loanees in Cedric and Pablo Mari.
Arsenal are still keen to conduct further business with the likes of Thomas Partey and Houssem Aouar having been linked, though Arteta admits the signing of a new goalkeeper is a priority before the closure of the transfer window next month, with Emiliano Martinez having been allowed to depart for Aston Villa in a £20m deal in search of regular first-team opportunities.
Martinez’s departure leaves the Gunners short of competition and cover for first-choice Bernd Leno, whilst the club have reportedly seen several approaches for Brentford’s David Raya rejected as they assess their goalkeeping options.
“With the departure of Emi – a big loss – we have to replace him,” he said.
“In football, the hours can become days. I cannot tell you [when]. The market is still open but things can change.”
Arsenal face West Ham at the Emirates tomorrow evening as they bid to build on their opening day victory at Fulham last weekend.