Mikel Arteta admits he initially doubted whether Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would sign a new contract with Arsenal and that the player also had misgivings before being won round.
Aubameyang’s three-year deal was confirmed on Tuesday and put to bed months of speculation about the club captain’s future. It means Arteta can work in the knowledge he has retained his prize asset, but the situation when he took charge last December was less straightforward.
“At the start, when I joined, I wasn’t as positive as I was a few weeks ago,” he said. “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, and that can sometimes take time, but if the outcome is what we both wanted then we’re happy.”
Arteta said Aubameyang’s future had been “a thing that was worrying me” given the near-impossibility of replacing a striker who has scored 72 times in 111 appearances. “Everyone was hoping for Auba to stay but it was creating some uncertainty around the place,” he continued. “Obviously it is great to finish that speculation, move on and find some stability.”