Exclusive - Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has opted to sign a new contract with the Gunners because he wasn’t prepared to wait until January for potential offers he’d been teased by rival Premier League clubs and European giants.
Aubameyang’s existing Arsenal deal was due to expire next year, leaving the club vulnerable to losing their star striker as a free agent if an extension couldn’t be agreed. But a new three-year contract is now agreed by both parties, and an announcement will be made before the Gunners begin their 2020/21 Premier League campaign away at Fulham.
Arsenal were at one stage considering selling the 30-year-old amid ongoing concerns about sanctioning any major financial outlays, while he was rumoured to be seriously weighing up his options as early as January 2020 with a view to potentially moving on.
But Aubameyang’s importance to the team became even more clear in the closing stages of last season, scoring braces against both Manchester City and Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final and final, securing a major trophy for the club in an otherwise difficult campaign.
90min can reveal that Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea were all interested in signing Aubameyang, but none were prepared to make a formal approach this summer. Instead, they all told him they would likely offer him a contract in January 2021 with a view to completing a deal in the summer when he was due to become a free agent.
Aubameyang didn’t receive any other offers ahead of that stated time frame, which would have meant staying put for the 2020/21 season anyway. Deciding that he didn’t want to wait to see what offers might come his way in January, he opted to accept the deal on the table from Arsenal.
That contract is expected to run until 2023, which commits the player’s immediate future to the Gunners and ensures he stays to lead a developing young squad that is midway through a rebuild under the watch of manager Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu Gaspar.
The future of his striker partner Alexandre Lacazette is less certain though, and an Emirates Stadium departure looks likely for the 29-year-old Frenchman at this stage.