Highly anticipated to be announced, the 31-year-old’s new three-year deal was announced on Tuesday [September 15]. Securing the club captain’s future hands Arteta a massive boost as he looks to take Arsenal back to the Champions League and beyond in the coming seasons.
As was likely to be the case, however, it wasn’t going to be conversations with just the forward which proved crucial. Aubameyang himself outlined the importance of calls he had with Arteta during lockdown, but the Spaniard was surprised at how vital the conversations with those around his star man were.
“It was a conversation that I had with Auba first privately and then with his father and his agent,” he told reporters ahead of Arsenal’s clash with West Ham.
“Sometimes it’s incredible how necessary these conversations are to try to understand each other’s position. What happened in the past, things that have annoyed people, things that make people feel important and part of the process.
“So, I think after those two conversations, I felt we had a really good chance. I felt a really good connection between us and a strong feeling that they wanted to continue with us.”
Arriving as then-head coach, now-manager, in December, the future of Aubameyang was one of many uncertain situations that needed to be solved by Arteta and the higher ups at the club.
Moving into January, this uncertainty fuelled speculation around moves to Barcelona and Milan which resurfaced briefly in the summer and the Spaniard has admitted he was more worried about the situation in his early days at the club.
Asked when he felt the tide began to turn, the 38-year-old highlighted the time Arsenal had away from football. This had proved a crucial time for Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ future at the club, and the case appeared to be the same for the man that so frequently calls him ‘Fofty’.
“I think that happened during the COVID period and then we started to have conversations internally between his representatives and the club.
“Things were evolving positively. It was taking time because it was a a big thing for the club and for Auba and this environment, but we are really glad we reached an agreement.”
As well as the immediate benefits including his goals, work-rate, selflessness and leadership qualities, Aubameyang signing his contract extension had a more symbolic impact for Arsenal fans.
Since moving to Emirates Stadium, the fanbase has become accustomed to their best players leaving north London once interest arrives from elsewhere. Emmanuel Adebayor, Robin van Persie and Alexis Sanchez are just three examples that span their stay at the Emirates.
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Aubameyang choosing to stay at the club despite interest elsewhere served as encouragement for Arteta also, but he insisted each case is different.
“It was a really important thing for us certainly to try to do it,” he said.
“That’s why we pushed as hard as we could to get it done. But I think every player’s situation, whatever happened in the past, is probably very different to what we have today, but we just try to manage [it] in the best possible way to achieve what we wanted.”