He would “cost zillions to replace” and manager Mikel Arteta wants to “build his squad around him” – but will Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stay at Arsenal?
The striker scored another two goals in Arsenal’s memorable victory over Chelsea in Saturday’s FA Cup final – securing their place in next season’s Europa League in the process.
He became just the fifth player to score two or more goals in a cup match at Wembley on more than one occasion, joining former Arsenal striker Ian Wright, Bryan Robson, Ian Rush and Eric Cantona.
The fans love him, the manager loves him… but, with just one year left on his contract, has the 31-year-old Gabon striker played his last game for the Gunners?
‘He is our talisman’
When pressed about the forward’s future, Arteta said he thinks Aubameyang will stay.
“He knows what I think about him. I want to build the squad around him. I think he wants to stay and it is just about getting the deal done,” Arteta told BBC One.
“I think these moments will help him to realise and believe that we are on the right path and he is a big part of that. He is loved by everybody at the club. Hopefully he can continue with us.”
But Aubameyang was more coy.
He said there was “nothing” to say before running off to lift the trophy.
Meanwhile, teammates Rob Holding and an emotional Emiliano Martinez were full of praise for their skipper.
“Aubameyang seems to do it on the break in every game. He is a our talisman and has done it all season,” said Holding.
“I said to him [Aubameyang] before the game, you are going to win us the game,” added Martinez, who was crying at full-time.
‘An absolute work of art’
Aubameyang won and converted a penalty for Arsenal’s equaliser in the 28th-minute, cancelling out Christian Pulisic’s early opener for Chelsea.
But it was his second goal which really caught the eye, prompting former England international Danny Murphy, the co-commentator for BBC, to call Aubameyang “a world class footballer”.
“That finish from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was absolutely sensational,” said Murphy. “We have seen how important it is today for Arsenal to keep him. It’s a beautiful, beautiful finish.”
Premier League winner Chris Sutton added on BBC Radio 5 Live: “Aubameyang would cost zillions to replace. Absolute zillions. You can see why Arsenal want to keep him.
“It is absolutely genius. He drifts past Kurt Zouma and dinks the ball over Willy Caballero. It’s one of the great goals – an absolute work of art. It’s sad Wembley does not have any fans in it.”
And former Newcastle captain Alan Shearer said Aubameyang was “red hot”.
But his trophy-lifting skills need some work…
‘When are they erecting the statue?’ How you reacted on social media
Chris Lord: Aubameyang showed the world why he isn’t a goalkeeper and a world class finisher tonight. Sign the new contract Auba! Champions again!
Bentemisonn: When are they erecting the Aubameyang statue? Now will be a good time Arsenal.
BigGoonerLad: I cannot imagine life without him – pls plls pls Aubameyang put us all at rest and sign da ting.
Sandra Singh: What a great day for the Arsenal! So happy for all the team especially Emiliano Martinez and of course the unstoppable Aubameyang.
Gentleman: It would be Arsenal’s biggest loss if they let Auba walk away. They should renew his contract right away with improved package.
Njenga: Aubameyang was sensational, the way he scored that second goal…
The best of the stats – an Aubameyang FA Cup special
- Aubameyang has now scored 13 goals for Arsenal in 2020. The only other player to have scored at least 13 goals for an English club this year is Said Benrahma, who has netted 14 for Championship side Brentford.
- He is the second Arsenal player to score twice in an FA Cup final, after Reg Lewis in 1950.
- The striker is only the second player in the last 15 FA Cup finals to score a penalty, after Eden Hazard for Chelsea in 2018 (excluding shootouts).
- At 31 years and 44 days, Aubameyang is the second-oldest goalscorer for Arsenal in the FA Cup, after Robert John in 1932 (33 years and 80 days).