If you ask enough times you’re bound to get an answer, and ahead of Arsenal’s game against Manchester City tomorrow, plenty of reporters wanted to use Mikel Arteta‘s pre-match press conference as a way to ask the Spaniard about two specific players – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka.
The pair have both been linked with a move away from the Emirates in the midst of ongoing contract negotiations, and given the current climate, that’s the last thing the club needs. Instead of shying away from the topic, though, Arteta was more than happy to answer any questions put in front of him.
On Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future:
I think it is our responsibility to make him feel this is the right next step in his career. In order to do that, he needs to feel valued, he needs to feel he belongs to us and we want him, and then he really needs to believe that we can take the club forward in the way we want to do, and he is going to be a key player to do that. At the moment I am extremely happy with how he has been performing and behaving, I have a really good relationship with him where we can discuss face to face a lot of things. As far as I am aware, he is very happy at the club.
On the contract situation:
Well, I think in a different context we would have liked to do things much quicker but obviously we have been really tight with time and communication as well. These unprecedented times bring a lot of uncertainty and things are getting clearer and clearer every day, we are a step closer to get back playing football and moving forward.
On whether qualifying for the Champions League could help convince Aubameyang to stay:
I think that will help to persuade anybody, but we are very lucky to have the club that we have right behind us. There are a lot of players who want to come and join us, but it’s not just about who do we want to attract, it’s about how happy the players are that are here and how convinced they are that they’re at the right place because it’s almost our obligation to be fighting for every trophy and playing in the Champions League with this club.
On whether they’ve had discussions with Aubameyang:
We’ve had many discussions with Pierre, his family and agent, and I’m pretty positive that we can find the right agreement for all parties.
On Bukayo Saka’s contract situation:
We are trying, as a club, to finalise the deals that are more urgent and are a priority for us. The ones you are talking about [Bukayo and Auba] – they are both really important, not just for now but for the future of the club as well and if the club has something to announce, they will do it in the right moment.
Do you think either of the two will leave the club?