Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 30 May 2020

Mikel Arteta hopes to convince Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to stay at Arsenal amid Barcelona interest

The Gabon striker scored twice in 3-2 win over Everton to take his season's Premier League tally to 17

Mikel Arteta hopes to persuade top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang that his future lies with Arsenal with some of Europe's biggest clubs circling around the Gabon striker.

Aubameyang, 30, has one year remaining on his contract at the Emirates Stadium and again showed his worth to the Gunners with twin strikes in the 3-2 Premier League win over Everton on Sunday.

Aubameyang's league tally of goals is now 17, moving him joint-top with Leicester City's Jamie Vardy. It's a return that has alerted the interest of Barcelona, among others, according to several British media reports.

"They're completely right to want him because he's a superb player. It's right that the big teams like him. Hopefully we can convince him this is right place to be," Arteta told reporters.

"He is our most important player, no doubt the impact he has in this team. We will have to convince him to stay with us."

The win over Everton, only the third of Arteta's reign, moved Arsenal up to ninth place in the table to boost their hopes of qualifying for next season's Europa League.

The North London club have failed to qualify for the more lucrative Champions League for the past two seasons, and Arteta said Arsenal had to make sure they gave Aubameyang the right stage to perform on.

"He wants to play in the biggest competitions with the best players. We have to help him do that. He needs to feel fulfilled," the Spaniard added.

"Before I took over I had my questions about him but he's shown his commitment.

"I'm so happy with him. He is scoring important goals and as a captain he is giving a great example to everyone else with the way he's working defensively."

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti was critical over his side's defensive performance after they conceded three goals in 19 minutes.

"I cannot say that the performance was good because to be good you have to attack well - and we did - and you have to defend well - and we didn't," Ancelotti said.

"So, I cannot be satisfied for this because we want to win here against a strong team and you have to defend well and attack well.

"The attacking play was good, we had a lot of opportunity to score more goals, but defensively we were poor so this is the focus that we are going to have next week because we have to defend better."

Everton did have some good news as Andre Gomes made his first appearance since suffering a serious ankle injury in November.

Updated: February 24, 2020 08:59 AM

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