Arsenal fans will be glad to never see an hourglass timer emoji again on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s social media feeds.
Speculation started over the club captain’s future in north London when he posted nothing but the timer on 16 August. Yesterday morning he posted the emoji again, but as Arsenal fan @afc_richard pointed out on Twitter, “Auba’s sand has just run out on his hourglass. It’s time…”
Yes, it was time, and in a live video from the Emirates Stadium the club confirmed what every Gunners fan wanted to hear: their star striker was staying and he had signed a new three-year deal.
Aubameyang’s contract was due to expire at the end of the 2020-21 season, meaning he was free to talk to other clubs in January, BBC Sport reports. However, the 31-year-old said his future was “never in doubt” and he’s excited to continue working under head coach Mikel Arteta.
Aubameyang confirmed to fans that he had just signed “da ting” and later told arsenal.com: “I want to become an Arsenal legend, just like Thierry [Henry], Wrighty [Ian Wright], [Tony] Adams and [Dennis] Bergkamp. I want to leave a legacy, this is where I belong. This is my family. We have something exciting here and I believe the best is to come for Arsenal.
“Signing for this special club was never in doubt. It’s thanks to our fans, my team-mates, my family and everybody at this club that I feel like I belong here.”
Crucial signing for Arteta
Since 38-year-old Arteta replaced Unai Emery in December 2019 he has led Arsenal to two trophies: last season’s FA Cup and this season’s Community Shield. In both games Aubameyang proved how important he is to Areta’s and Arsenal’s future.
In the FA Cup final on 1 August man-of-the-match Aubameyang scored both goals in the 2-1 win over Chelsea. Then on 29 August the striker was again on the scoresheet in the 1-1 draw against Liverpool in the Community Shield, which Arsenal lifted following a 5-4 penalty shoot-out win.
Arteta is delighted that the club’s star man has agreed to extend his stay. The Spaniard said: “It was important for Pierre-Emerick to stay with us. He’s a superb player with an incredible mentality. Being the player to have taken the least amount of time to reach 50 goals with this club tells you everything you need to know about him and his way of working.
“He’s an important leader for the team and a big part of what we’re building. He wants to be up there with the best players in the world and leave his mark. He can achieve that here.”
‘Big boost for everyone’
Arteta’s rebuild of the Arsenal squad has continued this summer with the arrivals of players such as winger Willian from Chelsea and defender Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille, while midfielder Dani Ceballos has also returned on loan from Real Madrid.
However, Aubameyang’s future was critical to Arteta’s project and his new long-term deal could prove to be Arsenal’s most important signing in years.
Since arriving from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018 for a then club-record £56m fee, Aubameyang has scored 72 goals in 111 games for the Gunners. In the Premier League he has scored 55 goals and won the Golden Boot in his first full season, the BBC says.
In the first game of the new season last weekend Aubameyang scored once as Arsenal got their campaign off to 3-0 winning start at Fulham.
Arsenal technical director Edu said: “It’s clear Auba loves the club and everything we stand for on and off the pitch. He’s obviously a very important part of the team so we’re all delighted he has committed his future to us. It’s a big boost for everyone – fans, teammates and staff.”
Wrighty: ‘I love you, captain’
Aubameyang says it’s his ambition to become a club legend like Thierry Henry or Ian Wright. But following yesterday’s announcement it was Wright who was in a jubilant mood after the long-standing contract saga officially ended, talkSPORT reports.
In a video call he told Aubameyang: “I love you, man. Thank you for signing – others left in the past but you’ve stayed with us when we needed you most.
“You have legendary status for life. I love you, captain. Everyone’s happy man. The fans love you.”
Wright later joined Aubameyang on the pitch at the Emirates and like every other Arsenal fan he celebrated the striker signing “da ting”.
Main image: Arsenal/Twitter