Thursday, 5 March 2020

Arteta wants to keep Aubameyang 'under any circumstances'

Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (left) speaks to manager Mikel Arteta (right) during a match

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says he wants to keep Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang "under any circumstances" and the club need to discuss a new deal with their captain before the end of the season.

Aubameyang's current contract expires at the end of the 2020-21 season.

The Gabon striker, 30, has scored 20 goals in all competitions for the Gunners this year and is a reported target for clubs including Barcelona and Inter Milan.

"For me it is very easy," said Arteta.

"I want to keep him under any circumstances."

Arteta said Arsenal will "for sure" have to speak to Aubameyang about a new deal "before the end of the season" but the nature of the talks could depend on how the Gunners fare this season.

Arsenal are currently 10th in the Premier League, eight points off fourth, and were knocked out of the Europa League at the last-32 stage by Olympiakos last week.

"We will see the intentions that we have and his intentions," said Arteta.

"Where we are sitting in the table at that moment. I think it is difficult to predict that context right now."

Aubameyang missed a glaring chance to send Arsenal through with the last kick of the match against Olympiakos, having seemingly put his side on course to progress with a goal in extra-time before Youssef El Arabi's late winner.

"He was down," said Arteta. "He felt responsible for what happened.

"We all tried to convince him that even though he had the best chance of the game, he was the one who put us in that situation earlier.

"We need him happy, smiling and full of energy and that's the way he's looked for the last few days."

Aubameyang missed Monday's FA Cup fifth round win against Portsmouth but is expected to start against West Ham in the Premier League at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

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