New deal for ‘big player’ Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ‘close’, says Mikel Arteta

New deal for ‘big player’ Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ‘close’, says Mikel Arteta

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta believes the club are “close” to finalising a new deal for captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who fired them to a penalty shoot-out win over Liverpool in the Community Shield at Wembley.

Gabon forward Aubameyang had helped the Gunners win a record 14th FA Cup against Chelsea earlier this month and produced a superb strike to give Arsenal an early lead against the Premier League champions.

Liverpool substitute Takumi Minamino equalised as the match finished 1-1 after 90 minutes.

The Arsenal captain, though, sealed another triumph by scoring the winning penalty in the shoot-out after Rhian Brewster missed from the spot as the Gunners won 5-4.

Aubameyang remained coy on his own future before going to lift the shield, but Arteta is confident a new deal is imminent for such a key man.

The Arsenal manager said on BT Sport: “Big games, big moments, big players. He is responding really well to that kind of pressure. He was magnificent in the FA Cup final and again today.”

On the contract negotiations, Arteta added: “We are close.”

Aubameyang said it was “really an exciting time to be an Arsenal player”,

On his own future, though, the 31-year-old was giving little away, saying: “We are going to see in these (coming) days. Today we will just take the trophy and that is it.”

Arteta also paid tribute to his players, who have regrouped with little training time.

The Arsenal boss added: “I knew the challenge we were facing against this incredible opponent. Thank you very much to the players for the effort and the performance.

New deal for ‘big player’ Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ‘close’, says Mikel Arteta

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta saw his team battle to another Wembley triumph (Justin Tallis/PA)

“The courage of the team (was pleasing), how aggressive we were without the ball and to break the pressure of Liverpool. I knew in the second half we would suffer.

“I knew we would suffer in the second half and didn’t have the legs, and in the penalties the boys had a lot of courage to put things right.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp felt his team had just lacked “the final punch”.

New deal for ‘big player’ Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ‘close’, says Mikel Arteta

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp saw his side beaten at Wembley (Andrew Couldridge/PA).

“When you play against a formation like this then you need to be really fresh in the final third and you need to force it, create angles. The rhythm for that fell a little bit. Today it was not enough,” he said.

“We created enough, had the ball quite a lot, but had to be careful of their counter-attack, deserved the equaliser, could have scored more, but when you don’t you have to take it.

“A penalty shoot-out is always a little bit of a lottery and we were unlucky there, so congratulations to Arsenal, that is how it is. We respect the competition.”

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