Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says he is making efforts to keep Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang “happy” with clouds still hanging over his future.
The 31-year old has a year left to run on his contract and has not shown any intent on whether he wants to stay or not.
This is the situation Arteta is trying to work on as he sees the former Borussia Dortmund man as part of his plans.
“Every time I speak with him, he is really happy where he is, he is very settled and his family is happy. Hopefully, he will be on board for a long time,” Arteta said as reported by TalkSPORT.
“He can see what we are trying to do and hopefully he can evolve as well some parts of his game he might feel he can improve. We are pushing him every day. I leave that to the football club and the senior people that finalise the contracts.
“I am very clear in my decision, I want to keep him here, I want to keep him happy, I want to keep him believing that what we’re doing here is the right thing and he can have an enjoyment here. Hopefully, we can do it.”
Aubameyang reached half a century of Premier League goals after Arsenal saw off struggling Norwich 4-0 on Wednesday with a brace and an assist. The Gabonese became the fastest Gunner to score 50 goals, doing so in 79 games, and the sixth-fastest in top-flight history after Andy Cole (65 games), Alan Shearer (66 games), Ruud van Nistelrooy (68 games), Fernando Torres and Mohamed Salah (both 72 games).
Arteta was clearly not surprised by the milestone.
“People push him and he loves that. He’s very critical of himself, in the way he trains and tries to be the first in the history of the club to achieve 50 goals,” he continued.
“It’s a really difficult task, so all the merit and congratulations to him for what he’s done. I know how good he is, he doesn’t need to convince me with more goals.”
Former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock and Crystal Palace striker Clinton Morrison, both speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, were of the opinion it would be difficult for Arsenal to keep Aubameyang, expecting him to leave for a top European club with his desire to win trophies.
“I think one of the big boys will come knocking for him,” Warnock said.
“It would be very difficult for him to stay at Arsenal unless they get their cheque book out and really go for it over the next window.
“Mikel Arteta has to prove to him why he should stay at Arsenal.
“If I was Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, I would be going for him with a year left on his contract. He will challenge the front three and he doesn’t need time, he will settle.”
“I don’t think he will be there next season,” stated Morrison.
“Arsenal are two or three years from winning things again and he will want trophies on his CV.”
Arsenal’s victory over Norwich made it back-to-back wins following a 2-0 victory at Southampton earlier and are now eight points away from the top four. The north London club had resumed the league with consecutive defeats to Manchester City and Brighton and Hove Albion.