Mikel Arteta is not surprised that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang shunned interest from the likes of Barcelona in order to sign a new contract at Arsenal, with the Gunners as “incredible” and “big” as any side on the planet.
The north London outfit have found the going tough of late, with the rot setting in prior to Arsene Wenger bringing an iconic reign to a close.
Top-four finishes and Champions League football have proved elusive, but Arteta has got his side back on the trophy trail.
FA Cup and Community Shield triumphs have helped to convince Aubameyang that he is in the best place at this stage of his career, with the 31-year-old committing to a new three-year deal as a result.
That long-running saga threatened to become an unwelcome distraction for the Gunners, with the club’s talismanic captain seeing moves to various sides across Europe mooted.
Arteta was, however, always confident that the prolific Gabonese frontman would stay put and is delighted to have seen that faith rewarded.
The Arsenal boss told reporters: “I think a big reason why Auba is staying is because we have an incredible football team.
“We have some fantastic people working here and he feels the love from the fans.
“I did my part, explaining to him what we are trying to do, explaining to him how important he is going to be, what we are building. That's it. The club has to take credit for that and all the people who put together this package for him to stay.”
Pressed on the supposed interest shown in Aubameyang by La Liga giants Barcelona, Arteta added: “The size of our club is as big as those names. The most important thing is the football club. What we aspire to be, and what we can achieve in the future.
“We must make sure that our players believe in our project.”
Aubameyang, with 72 goals for Arsenal to his name through 111 appearances, is already up and running in 2020-21.
He found the target in an opening-day 3-0 derby win over Fulham and will have another London rival in his sights on Saturday when the Gunners play host to West Ham.