Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said he believes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will stay at the club after the striker’s brace saw the Gunners emerge 2-1 winners against Chelsea in Saturday’s FA Cup final.
Arsenal fell behind early as Christian Pulisic deftly finished past Emiliano Martinez, but Aubameyang won and scored a penalty to ensure the north Londoners headed into the changing room level at half-time.
The Gabon international then beat Willy Caballero again in the second half, finishing off a neat Arsenal move by dinking skilfully over the Argentine.
The 31-year-old’s performance only further illustrated how integral he is to Arteta’s team.
“He knows what I think about him,” the Gunners coach said of Aubameyang after his side’s triumph at Wembley.
“I want to build a squad around him, I think he wants to stay.
“It’s about getting the deal done, but I think moments like that will help him to realise and to believe that we are on the right path and he’s a big part of it.
“He’s loved by everybody at the club, so hopefully he can continue with us.”
When pressed on whether or not Aubameyang, who was the runner-up for this season’s Premier League Golden Boot with 22 goals, will stay at the Emirates, Arteta said: “I think so, yes.”
The Spaniard was also full of praise for his players’ mentality in fighting back to secure victory and lift the trophy.
“It was a difficult start when we conceded a goal so early. You know, sometimes you can go down, but if I know something about this group of players, it’s that they weren’t going to give up.
“They reacted straight away. We played probably the best 30 minutes that we’ve played since I arrived. We equalise, we get the goal and then we generate belief in the second half.
“We talked about how we were so close to winning this trophy, everybody worked incredibly hard, so I am so proud to represent these players and this club.”
Although Arsenal finished eighth in the Premier League, their FA Cup win means they qualify for next season’s Europa League.
“It’s a double reward for us,” Arteta said of Saturday’s result. “It’s really important for this club in every way to be in Europe.
“We’ve done it through this competition, winning it, it’s part of our history – 14 [titles] now. We all did it, so I am so happy.”