LONDON • Mikel Arteta claimed that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is willing to stay at Arsenal after he reached 50 Premier League goals faster than any player in the club’s history in Wednesday’s 4-0 home demolition of Norwich.
The Gabon striker would not have scored many easier goals in his Arsenal half-century, as he punished a howler from Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul in the first half.
Amid speculation that he wants to leave north London at the end of the season, he underlined just how important he is to the Gunners’ chances of success under Arteta.
He set up Granit Xhaka for their second goal and scored again himself after half-time. Portugal defender Cedric Soares scored the fourth goal on his Gunners debut.
“Hopefully he will be here for a long time,” Arsenal boss Arteta said to BBC Sport about Aubameyang, who has a year left on his contract.
“Every time I speak with him he is really happy where he is, he is very settled and his family are happy. He is willing to stay with us.
“I leave that to the football club and the senior people that finalise the contracts.
“Auba knows really well what my thoughts are towards him and the project that I want to create, and how much he is part of that. After that, it is not in my hands.”
Aubameyang has 51 Premier League goals in 79 appearances – and 63 in all competitions – since his move from Borussia Dortmund in 2018.
“I hope he can score at least another 100. What he has achieved to be the fastest to score 50 in the whole history of this club tells you everything about his mentality and the way he works,” Arteta added.
The 31-year-old beat the previous Arsenal record of 50 goals in 83 games set by Thierry Henry.
Only five players have scored 50 top-flight goals faster than Aubameyang in the Premier League era – Andy Cole (65 games), Alan Shearer (66), Ruud van Nistelrooy (68), Fernando Torres (72) and Mohamed Salah (72).
He said after his brace: “Now we’ll see (about my contract), we’ll talk with the club and we’ll see what’s going to happen.
“First of all, I’m really focused on the games and this end of the season. Since Mikel is in, we’re doing well. We’re working very well.”
Arsenal are up to seventh, six points behind sixth-placed Wolves (52), as they try to secure Europa League qualification.
They reached the FA Cup semi-finals last weekend.