Mikel Arteta: 'I Completely Trust' Arsenal on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Contract

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2020

Arsenal's Spanish head coach Mikel Arteta (R) speaks with Arsenal's Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (L) during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 1, 2020. (Photo by Ian KINGTON / IKIMAGES / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo by IAN KINGTON/IKIMAGES/AFP via Getty Images)
IAN KINGTON/Getty Images

Mikel Arteta has put his trust in Arsenal to handle Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's contract situation after the club's star striker entered the final 18 months of his deal at the Emirates Stadium.

Aubameyang—who replaced Granit Xhaka as club captain in November when Unai Emery was still manager—joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018 for £56 million, a club record at the time.

He took to Twitter on Wednesday and responded to a report by the Mirror's John Cross, who wrote the player is waiting to see if Arsenal qualify for next season's UEFA Champions League before he discusses new terms:

Gunners boss Arteta said prior to Thursday's UEFA Europa League clash at home to Olympiacos: "The club has a very [good] idea of how he wants to develop things. They are in constant communication with players’ agents and they know the plan better than I do. I completely trust them on that."

Aubameyang, 30, is set to become a free agent in June 2021 unless he signs an extension with the club, who will be desperate to keep the current joint-top scorer in the Premier League. His 17 goals this season put him level with Leicester City frontman Jamie Vardy.

Alexandre Lacazette is Arsenal's next-highest scorer in the Premier League this term with six goals. Aubameyang underlined his importance with two goals in Sunday's 3-2 comeback win at home to Everton:

That display included his third Premier League brace of the season and improved his tally to three goals in his last two top-flight outings.

Arteta told Sky Sports reporter Geoff Shreeves after the Everton win that he questioned Aubameyang's work rate in the past but suggested he was now convinced:

The Spanish tactician has won back-to-back league games for the first time since he was appointed Emery's successor in December, with Arsenal up to ninth in the table having lost just one of their last 10 outings.

De Roche highlighted comments made in May 2019 by Arsenal head of football Raul Sanllehi, who said they want to avoid a repeat of the situation that saw Aaron Ramsey join Juventus for free last summer (starting at 17 minutes, 48 seconds):

Sanllehi suggested the club put itself in "a very weak position" by allowing the player to move into the final year of his contract unless the intention is to release that player.

The north Londoners are at risk of an identical situation should Aubameyang fail to sign a new deal before the start of next season, in which case a transfer this summer may be deemed the best option.

Arsenal host Olympiacos at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday after winning 1-0 away in the round-of-32 opening leg.

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