Mikel Arteta admitted on Friday night that he was worried about Arsenal’s chances of keeping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and the striker had doubts about staying.
But the Gunners boss revealed some pivotal conversations with Aubameyang and his representatives during lockdown proved decisive in securing his future at the club.
Captain Aubameyang gave Arsenal a huge boost by signing a new three-year deal this week that, with bonuses, could be worth in excess of £350,000 per week.
Mikel Arteta claims Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signed on due to Arsenal’s ‘incredible’ team
Aubameyang ended speculation about his Arsenal future by signing a new three-year deal
Arteta, who was appointed manager in December, said: ‘When I joined I wasn’t as positive as I was the last few weeks.
‘Financially we were in a position where it was difficult to get to where we wanted to get.
‘I think Auba had his doubts but things evolved in a natural way. I had a feeling the club wanted to move forward and a feeling Auba wanted to stay and we just had to glide those things together.
‘It was a conversation I had with Auba first, privately, and with his father and his agent.
Reports in Spain suggested Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona had made a late bid to sign him
But Arteta claimed Aubameyang turned them down because Arsenal are ‘as big’ a name
‘It is incredible how necessary these conversations are to understand each other’s position and what happened in the past — things that have annoyed people and things that have made people feel important and part of the process.
‘I think after those two conversations, I felt we had a good chance because I felt a really good connection and a strong feeling they wanted to continue with us.’
Arteta’s impressive introduction to management has not been lost on the man in the opposing dugout tonight — West Ham’s David Moyes.
‘He’s had such a good start,’ Moyes said.
‘But he’ll find as he goes on it becomes more difficult. The expectations rise — when you’re at big clubs, you’re expected to win every week.’