Arteta intends to keep Aubameyang amid exit rumours

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is hopeful that star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will sign a contract extension at Arsenal although accepting the fact that currently, no talks are ongoing with the 30-year-old striker.

The Gabon international has 18 months left on his current deal with reports from Spain claiming Real Madrid will make a player-plus-cash offer for Aubameyang worth up to 70 million pounds.

However, Aubameyang has since then rubbished those reports in Arsenal’s matchday program ahead of the Gunners’ 1-0 victory over Leeds United in the FA Cup on Monday night, insisting he loves playing for Arsenal.

“I was very pleased to read those comments,” Arteta said. “He knows exactly what I think about him and obviously he is a massive player for us.

“But at the moment we are in the middle of the season and we have not discussed anything further on that.”

Earlier in May, Arsenal’s managing director Vinai Venkatesham said that the club would look to sell anyone entering the final two years of their contract should they not wish to renew their deals in a bid to avoid the repeat of the same circumstances which happened with Aaron Ramsey who left the London to join Juventus on a free transfer last summer.

However, with Arteta on board, the club has appeared to have softened their stance on that – at least in case of the Gabon international – and Arteta was clear keeping the leading scorer is a major priority for him.

Arteta explained: “My intention is to keep Auba because I know that if we keep Auba with us, we are going to be stronger and closer to winning football matches.”

Asked if he is confident Aubameyang will re-sign, Arteta replied: “I don’t know. We have not discussed that but I am confident that he is very happy here because that is what he said.”

When asked about Arsenal’s transfer activity in the January Transfer window, Arteta said: “I am not expecting big things [in the market]. I am expecting big things from the players I have at the moment and the players that are recovering from injury.

“[But] if we can find something to help us at the moment to get through the season in a more balanced way in certain areas and it is helpful, then we will look at the options.

“We always have to be looking [to strengthen]. We have some bad injuries to players who are going to be out for a long time and we have to see if we can find options there.”