Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has admitted he wasn’t always confident Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would extend his stay at the club, but feels heartfelt conversations with the player and his father were the turning point in his decision to sign new terms.
Aubemeyang’s previous deal had been due to expire in 2021, and it had previously looked as if his days at the club were numbered. There were rumblings that Barcelona wanted to sign him this summer, and it seemed Arsenal were facing a key decision – sell now, or keep him and lose him for free in 12 months.
That was the situation when Arteta took over as manager in December but things have changed since. A strong finish to 2019/20 culminated in an FA Cup final win, and not long after that was followed by a Community Shield victory, Aubameyang put pen to paper on a new three-year contract.
“When I joined I wasn’t as positive as I was the last few weeks,” Arteta said, per The Mail. “Financially we were in a position where it was difficult to get to where we wanted to get.
“I think Auba had his doubts but things evolved in a natural way. I had a feeling the club wanted to move forward and a feeling Auba wanted to stay and we just had to glide those things together.
“It was a conversation I had with Auba first, privately, and with his father and his agent.
“It is incredible how necessary these conversations are to understand each other’s position and what happened in the past — things that have annoyed people and things that have made people feel important and part of the process.
“I think after those two conversations, I felt we had a good chance because I felt a really good connection and a strong feeling they wanted to continue with us.”