Aubameyang credits Arteta for keeping him at Arsenal

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had opportunities to leave Arsenal, but has mentioned manager Mikel Arteta as a key factor in his choice to remain at the Emirates Stadium.

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

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

“I thought of it to tell you the truth because I also had good opportunities,” he told Sky Sports.

“But this feeling of being here – the love from the fans and the whole club – I’m not sure I’m going to leave will receive the same love, so that’s why I stay.

“I’m really proud to be captain, but it’s not the biggest factor to stay. Of course it’s a good job to do, but it was not part of me to stay here.”

Captain and an adoring fan base aside, it was Arteta – who often expressed confidence that Aubameyang would sign – who greatly influenced Gabon’s international decision as to where his career lay.

“Since he came in, he brought a lot of positivity and a new philosophy to us,” Aubameyang said.

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

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

“I was like ‘I’m fine 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 go a ‘Heritage, but it’s just about you and what you want. Of course you can leave and go for trophies in big clubs too, but I think you can create a legacy here in this big club.’

“This was the key message for me, and after that conversation I was like, ‘Okay, that’s clear to me and I just want to stay’ and that’s it.”

Aubameyang quickly did well on Arteta’s legacy plans by scoring both goals in Arsenal’s 2-1 FA Cup final victory over Chelsea, after also securing a brace in the semi-final victory 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 record at Wembley.

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