Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has confessed that he is happy with the way negotiations with striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang over a new contract are going.
The Gabon international has just one year remaining on his current deal, and just a few months ago, it seemed like a near certainty that he would reject an extension. There were rumours he could force an exit to a side in the Champions League, with Barcelona and Inter linked.
However, since then, Arsenal have shown major signs of improvement. They may still be down in tenth in the Premier League, but performances have been much better and they even reached the FA Cup final thanks to a victory over Manchester City, serving as evidence that the Gunners are moving in the right direction.
Now, the idea of keeping Aubameyang, who has managed 25 goals in all competitions this year, is not so outlandish, and Arteta confessed (via Sky Sports News) that he is getting a lot of good signs from the discussions with the striker.
"I don't know, to put a date right now is very difficult," said Arteta. "I like the way the conversations are going, I like what I'm hearing. I'm sure for both parties, the quicker we can do it, the better for everyone.
'I am confident he will extend his stay.
Nobody: Auba don’t Score against big Teams— Aubameyang P-E (@Aubameyang7) July 18, 2020
Me: ???????? pic.twitter.com/DcTvhQUVvT
"He's generally happy. I think he is enjoying his football. He is settled in the country and his family are good.
"I think he can sense - and we've told him - how much we like him, how much we value him. I think the connection he has with the fans is unique. I believe he is in the perfect place for him.
"Everything I have from him and the people around him is the same. So I don't have any arguments to say something different."
Selling Aubameyang was seen as the best way for Arsenal to raise transfer funds, especially after Arteta admitted the lack of financial support was a 'big concern', but he went on to explain that things are already looking a bit better in that regard.
"I think we will get all of the support that we need," he added. "Some of the limitations that we have and the uncertainties that we have are going to be a little bit clearer in the next week or two weeks and then we will be in a much stronger position to know how much we can do or cannot do.
"But I am very positive because everything I'm hearing is that we want the same thing and that's the most important thing."