Auba: I considered leaving but Arteta was key

Pierre-Emerick Aubamdeyang of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney on September 22, 2020 in St Albans, England.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says he considered leaving Arsenal but the chance to improve under Mikel Arteta was a "key factor" in his decision to sign a new contract.

Barcelona made a concrete offer to sign Aubameyang, who also attracted interest from Inter Milan, before Arsenal confirmed their captain had signed a new three-year deal after months of speculation over his future.

The 31-year-old helped Arsenal win the FA Cup final last season and the Community Shield at the start of 2020/21 - scoring in both games - and netted in his side's opening Premier League win over Fulham.

Arsenal boss Arteta recently said his star striker chose to extend his contract because the Gunners are an "incredible" football team , but Aubameyang - speaking exclusively to Sky Sports - says his manager was instrumental in his decision.

"Two things persuaded me to stay," he 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.

"Everyone is treating me very, very good, so I feel at home and that's why I'm staying.

"We had a chat during lockdown and we were supposed to talk about a game and he said 'okay, forget about it, we're going to talk about the future' and he asked me what I wanted to do.

"I was like 'I feel good since you came, I'm improving, and the philosophy is very, very nice so I just want to stay' and he was like 'I'm sure if you stay you can leave a legacy, but it's all about you and what you want. 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.'

"This was the key message to me and after that conversation I was like 'okay, it's all clear for me and I just want to stay' and that's it."

Aubameyang has arguably been the best striker in the Premier League since arriving from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018, scoring 72 goals in 112 appearances across all competitions.

Asked whether he considered leaving the Emirates amid interest from other clubs, Aubameyang added: "I was thinking about it to tell you the truth because I had good opportunities as well.

"But this feeling to be here - the love from the fans and all the club - I'm not sure that by leaving I will receive the same love, so that's why I'm staying.

"I'm really proud to be the captain but it's not the biggest factor to stay. Of course, it's a great job to do but it was not a part of me staying here."
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