London – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on Thursday said he contemplated leaving Arsenal but opted to extend his contract.
Aubameyang said his change of heart came after manager Mikel Arteta revitalised the English Premier League club and told him that he could leave behind a legacy at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gabonese, Arsenal’s top goalscorer over the last two seasons, signed a new three-year deal last week.
It ended speculation over a potential exit as he entered the final year of his previous contract at the north London club.
Arteta made an instant impact at Arsenal following his appointment last season with the club winning the FA Cup and qualifying for the Europa League.
Aubameyang said his belief in the Spaniard’s philosophy had helped change his mind.
“Two things persuaded me to stay,” Aubameyang said. “The first thing was Mikel Arteta, because since he came in he brings a lot of positivity and a new philosophy for us.
“I think that was important because it matched my game and I feel that I can improve with him. I think this was the key factor and as well, the love that I receive from the fans and the whole club.”
Aubameyang’s decision to stay with Arsenal was a major boost to Arteta, who said after winning the FA Cup that he wanted to build the squad around the Gabon striker.
Arteta had admitted earlier this month that he feared losing his captain.
This was because top European clubs such as FC Barcelona and AC Milan were reported to have registered an interest in the 31-year-old, who said he considered his options.
“I was thinking about (leaving Arsenal), to tell you the truth, because I had good opportunities as well,” Aubameyang added.
“…(Arteta said) ‘Of course you can leave and go for trophies in big clubs as well. But I think you can create a legacy here in this great club’.”(Reuters/NAN)