Mikel Arteta has reiterated his belief that Arsenal are “close” to agreeing a new contract with star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gunners have seen speculation regarding their captain’s future drag on for longer than anyone at Emirates Stadium would have liked.
It has not proved to be a distraction, though, with the north London outfit putting themselves back on the trophy trail.
Aubameyang inspired them to FA Cup glory in 2019-20, with match-winning performances put in against Manchester City and Chelsea to emerge victorious in that competition.
He was back among the goals in a Community Shield clash with Liverpool on Saturday, with his stunning first-half strike breaking the deadlock in that contest.
Arsenal were unable to get the job done in 90 minutes against the Premier League champions as Takumi Minamino grabbed an equaliser, but the Gunners held their nerve to prevail on penalties.
Aubameyang converted the decisive spot-kick, allowing him to lift another piece of silverware.
Inevitably, he was quizzed on his future afterwards and continues to remain coy when it comes to the penning of fresh terms.
Arteta, though, is hoping that a positive update will be delivered soon, with the Arsenal boss telling BT Sport: “We are close.”
Arsenal are desperate to see their skipper extend his association with the club as his latest outing further underlined his value to the cause.
Arteta added on another match-winning display: “Big games, big moments, big players. He has responded really well to that kind of pressure. He was magnificent in the FA Cup final and the same today.”
While Aubameyang has been a talismanic presence for the Gunners, improvement has been made as a collective under Arteta’s stewardship.
He has offered a loyal fan base cause for optimism, with two trophies collected in the month of August.
Arteta said of the progress being made and his impact on Arsenal: “I’m so happy. I knew the challenge we were facing today. Thank you to the players for the effort and the performance.
“The courage of the team [was the most pleasing thing], how aggressive we were without the ball and to break the pressure of Liverpool. I knew in the second half we would suffer.
“This generates belief, to be able to compete against a team like this in a final makes me happy.”