Mikel Arteta has admitted that he feared for the worst in terms of keeping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang when he first became Arsenal’s manager.
The Spaniard was named the Gunners’ newest boss late last year and among the many issues that he faced at the club was sorting out the future of club captain, Aubameyang.
The Gabon star was nearing the last year of his previous deal, and with the team struggling on the field, the club had almost no leverage to convince him to stay.
Arteta was always confident that the club’s captain would stay, and as things turned for the better, the Spaniard was increasingly positive that Aubameyang would see what the club is doing and stay with them.
The striker eventually signed a new three-year deal, but Arteta has now opened up on being afraid that Auba might leave the club.
He said via Mail Online: ‘When I joined I wasn’t as positive as I was the last few weeks.
‘Financially we were in a position where it was difficult to get to where we wanted to get.
‘I think Auba had his doubts but things evolved in a natural way. I had a feeling the club wanted to move forward and a feeling Auba wanted to stay and we just had to glide those things together.
‘It was a conversation I had with Auba first, privately, and with his father and his agent.
‘It is incredible how necessary these conversations are to understand each other’s position and what happened in the past — things that have annoyed people and things that have made people feel important and part of the process.
‘I think after those two conversations, I felt we had a good chance because I felt a really good connection and a strong feeling they wanted to continue with us.’