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Aubameyang credits Arteta for keeping him at Arsenal

27 days ago
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Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was linked to Barcelona and Inter among others but Mikel Arteta was key in persuading him to stay.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had opportunities to leave Arsenal but has cited manager Mikel Arteta as a key factor in him electing to remain at Emirates Stadium.

Aubameyang penned a three-year extension in north London earlier this month to end mounting speculation.

Barcelona and Inter were among the elite European clubs linked to the 31-year-old, who conceded he was tempted by a fresh challenge.

"I was thinking about it to tell you the truth because I had good opportunities as well," he told Sky Sports.

"But this feeling to be here - the love from the fans and all the club - I'm not sure that by leaving I will receive the same love, so that's why I'm staying.

"I'm really proud to be the captain but it's not the biggest factor to stay. Of course, it's a great job to do but it was not a part of me staying here."

Captaincy and an adoring fanbase aside, it was Arteta - who frequently expressed his confidence that Aubameyang would re-sign - that had a major influence upon the Gabon international's decision with regards to where his career lay.

"Since he came in, he brings a lot of positivity and a new philosophy for us," Aubameyang said.

"I think that was important because it matched my game and I feel that I can improve with him. I think this was the key factor."

Aubameyang added: "We had a chat during lockdown and we were supposed to talk about a game and he said, 'Okay, forget about it, we're going to talk about the future' and he asked me what I wanted to do.

"I was like, 'I feel good since you came, I'm improving, and the philosophy is very, very nice so I just want to stay' and he was like, ''I'm sure if you stay you can leave a legacy, but it's all about you and what you want. Of course, you can leave and go for trophies in big clubs as well, but I think you can create a legacy here in this great club.'

"This was the key message to me and after that conversation I was like, 'Okay, it's all clear for me and I just want to stay' and that's it."

Aubameyang swiftly made good on Arteta's legacy plans by scoring both goals in Arsenal's 2-1 FA Cup final win over Chelsea, having also netted a brace in the semi-final win over Manchester City.

He also scored a brilliant goal and netted the decisive penalty in last month's Community Shield success over Liverpool, continuing a phenomenal recent record at Wembley.

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