Arsenal will be hoping to tie-down striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to a long-term contract at the end of the season, but head coach Mikel Arteta has opened up on the difficulty surrounding a potential deal.
The club captain is out of contract at the end of the 2020/21 campaign, and if a new deal isn’t agreed before January he could leave the Emirates Stadium on a free transfer.
When asked about the future of Aubameyang at Arsenal, Arteta hinted that their current league position could make negotiations difficult.
“We will have to do that at some stage before the end of the season for sure and we will see the intentions that we have [and] his intentions,” the Gunners boss commented, as reported by Sky Sports News.
“Where we are sitting in [the table at] that moment. I think it is difficult to predict that context right now. For me it is very easy. I want to keep him under any circumstances.”
While there is no doubt that Arsenal want to keep hold of their prized asset, Aubameyang would be forgiven for looking elsewhere given their season so far.
The Gunners are currently eight points adrift of the top four, and if they are to secure a return to the Champions League in the not-so-distant future then they can’t afford to lose their star striker.
Aubameyang has 20 goals in all competitions this season, which is over twice as many than any of his team mates, following on from his joint Golden Boot victory last year.
If Arsenal are unable to agree a new deal with the Gabon international, it could end in a repeat of the saga which led to Aaron Ramsey joining Juventus on a free transfer.
Arteta will not want to lose his captain, under any circumstances, but if he does move on then the club will at least want to receive a fee for his services.
If Aubameyang does wave goodbye to the North London club in search of a return to the Champions League, Arsenal can only blame themselves as they are heading towards one of their most disappointing seasons in the Premier League.