Mikel Arteta has discussed the ‘challenge’ of convincing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to stay at Arsenal amid speculation the forward could leave the club this summer.
The Arsenal captain has enjoyed another impressive campaign in north London and scored twice during the club’s 3-2 win over Everton on Sunday, Aubameyang moving level with Leicester’s Jamie Vardy as the leading scorer in the division as he seeks a second consecutive Golden Boot award.
The 30-year-old will have just a year remaining on his contract this summer and has been strongly linked with a move to Barcelona in recent months, though Arteta is hopeful that the Gabon international will ignore the advances of Europe’s elite and remain at the Emirates.
Arsenal currently sit ninth in the Premier League but have now moved within four points of European qualification, and speaking at his post-match press conference, Arteta was asked if the recent upturn in results could help keep the forward at the club: “Hopefully,” the Spaniard said.
“Not just the wins, but as well what we are trying to do, that he really enjoys being on the pitch every time he goes, that he feels very much part of what we’re trying to build here. And I think he’s with that mindset at the moment.”
Arteta admits the club’s recent struggles have been difficult for Aubameyang, Arsenal struggling during a transitional phase and facing a difficult task to return to the Champions League next season.
Whilst the former midfielder understands the forward’s desire to return to the highest level, he admitted his ‘challenge’ is to ensure the north London side can provide the platform for Aubameyang to feel ‘fulfilled’ in the coming seasons.
“I think it’s been tough for him, a player like him, there have been a lot of disappointments in the last few months and years because he has big expectations. You know he wants to play for the biggest clubs in the biggest tournaments and be up there with the best players in the world.
“We have to try and support him and give him everything at the club so he really feels fulfilled here. That’s the challenge I have.”
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