Mikel Arteta has revealed that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had his doubts about extending his stay with Arsenal.
The Gabon international recently signed a new three-year deal with the club, having run into the final 12 months of his previous contract.
There was much speculation throughout the previous campaign, with his contract situation not helping to water down those rumours.
The manager has now confirmed that he wasn’t confident that the club would be able to convince him to extend his stay in North London, not until ‘a few weeks ago’.
“At the start, when I joined, I wasn’t as positive as I was a few weeks ago,” Arteta told Arsenal Media during his pre-match press conference.
“Obviously, financially, we were in a position where it was difficult to get what we wanted to get, and I think Auba had his doubts at the time.
“But things evolved in a natural way and I had a feeling that the club wanted to move forward.
“I had a feeling that Auba wanted to stay here and we were just trying to put those things together. That can sometimes take some time, but if the outcome is what we both wanted then we’re happy.
“I played my part, which is part of my job, to try to explain to him what we are trying to do and how important he would be while we are building.”
The manager goes onto claim that Arsenal is as big as any of the other giants in Europe, with reports claiming that Barcelona showed an interest in the 31 year-old’s signature.
“The size of our club is as big as those names,” Arteta said after Aubameyang signed.
“The most important thing is the football club. What we aspire to be, and what we can achieve in the future.
“We must make sure that our players believe in our project.”
All recent talk from new players and those in and around the squad currently are all buying into the project that Arteta is building, and I have no doubt that we would have struggled to keep Aubz this summer had Arteta not been appointed back in December…