LONDON • Mikel Arteta expects Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to finally commit his future to Arsenal in the next few days, after the Gabon forward’s superb strike capped yesterday’s 3-0 win at Fulham.
The Gunners kicked off the new English Premier League season with the kind of confident display that has become their hallmark since the Spaniard took charge last December.
Arsenal’s free-flowing attack was too incisive for newly promoted Fulham and Alexandre Lacazette gave the visitors an early lead at Craven Cottage.
Brazilian defender Gabriel then scored the second goal four minutes after the break in his first appearance since his £23 million (S$40.3 million) summer move from Lille.
Aubameyang added the final flourish with a typically eye-catching strike, which emphasised why Arsenal are so desperate for their captain to sign an extension to the contract which expires at the end of the season.
Gunners boss Arteta had good news for supporters concerned the 31-year-old star might leave, revealing that their top scorer for the past two seasons was on the verge of penning an extension.
“I’m really positive we are going to get it done very soon and, hopefully in the next few days, you will get some news,” he told BT Sport.
With former Chelsea forward Willian providing a pair of assists on his debut, it was the ideal way for Arsenal to start a season that appears full of promise after last season’s FA Cup triumph.
Although their eighth-place finish in the top flight was their lowest final position since 1995, Arteta had little to do with that, with the poor results in the first half of the term attributed to the fired Unai Emery.
The former Manchester City assistant has been a breath of fresh air and pushing for a place in the top four should not be beyond his revitalised team this term.
“I wanted to see my team determined to come to this difficult ground against a really good team that has been promoted,” Arteta said. “Gabriel didn’t play for six months before today. Mohamed Elneny was brilliant. He has been excellent in training. All the boys tried really hard.”
I’m really positive we are going to get it done very soon and, hopefully in the next few days, you will get some news.
MIKEL ARTETA, Arsenal manager, who sees Gabonese captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang inking a new deal shortly.
Arteta also confirmed that defender Rob Holding had forced his way into his plans for the campaign, thus nixing a proposed loan move to Newcastle United.
However, he hinted backup goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, who has been the subject of a £15 million bid by Aston Villa and is also wanted by Brighton, could be off after he was not even named on the bench.
On the Argentinian, who was instrumental in helping Arsenal earn their 14th FA Cup, Arteta said: “We have a special situation. Obviously, the transfer market is open and we know all the rumours, so we made the decision to start Bernd (Leno) today.”