Arsenal boss Arteta hails Aubameyang: ‘other clubs are right to want him, he is a superb player’
Gunners head coach hopes the club captain will be convinced to stay
Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has heaped praise on club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after the striker scored twice in the 3-2 Premier League victory over Everton on Sunday.
Club captain Aubameyang has now scored 19 goals this season and 60 in 95 matches for the Gunners since joining from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018.
The 30-year-old, whose contract expires in the summer of 2021, has been linked with a move away from the club after it was reported he wants to play Champions League football next season.
After 27 matches this season Arsenal are currently ninth in the Premier League table with 37 points - seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
Arteta, who was appointed Arsenal head coach in December, admits that he “had questions” regarding the Gabon international’s commitment. However, the Spaniard has praised the skipper for his performances and goal record.
“Before I took over I had my questions about him but he has shown his commitment,” said Arteta. “I wanted him to show if he wanted to do it and do it physically.
“I’m so happy with him. He is scoring important goals and as a captain he is giving a great example to everyone else with the way he is working defensively.”
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Start your trial today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
The right place to be
Aubameyang’s supreme finishing has seen the striker linked with a move to Spanish giants Barcelona.
Metro reported earlier this month that the reigning La Liga champions tried to sign him in January and confirmed that they remain interested in a future deal.
Arteta is not surprised by the interest in Aubameyang, but the Arsenal boss hopes he can convince the in-form forward to stay at the Emirates for the long term.
“They are completely right to want him because he is a superb player,” added Arteta. “It’s right that big teams like him. Hopefully we can convince him this is the right place to be.
“I think it’s been tough for him because he has big expectations. He wants to play in the biggest competitions and with the best players. We have to help him do that. He needs to feel fulfilled.
“He is our most important player, no doubt the impact he has in this team. We will have to convince him to stay with us.”
Neville: Aubameyang is world-class
Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville admits he’s been won over by the “world-class” Arsenal striker.
“Including me, we have stopped short of announcing Aubameyang as world class,” said Neville.
“We’re happy to go with Aguero, we're happy to go with Mane and Salah, Firmino, Kane… all these players who have graced the Premier League in the last two or three seasons.
“He’s one of the best players we’ve got in the Premier League, but for some reason he doesn’t quite get the credit and the plaudits that others get.
“I don’t know why that is, but I think now’s the time for us all to start recognising the quality and the brilliance of this player. He fights for the team, he’s always there, and for me, he’s everything you would want in a football player.”