Mikel Arteta is desperate to keep Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at Arsenal “under any circumstances”, saying the club need to sit down with their captain before the end of the season.
The 30-year-old has scored 20 goals in all competitions for the Gunners so far this season, double the amount of any of his team-mates.
Speaking last week, manager Arteta said Aubameyang, whose contract expires at the end of the 2020/21 campaign, has to be considered a world-class talent despite his lack of silverware at the Emirates Stadium.
With some of Europe’s elite clubs reportedly showing an interest, Arsenal are keen to tie their talisman down to a new contract and avoid losing him on a free as they did with Aaron Ramsey last year.
Arteta has urged those talks to take place sooner rather than later to make sure they keep hold of the Gabon striker.
“We will have to do that at some stage before the end of the season for sure and we will see the intentions that we have (and) his intentions,” Arteta said on Thursday.
“Where we are sitting in (the Premier League table at) that moment, I think it is difficult to predict that context right now. For me it is very easy. I want to keep him under any circumstances.”
Reaching the Champions League would be seen as a way to boost Arsenal’s chances of retaining Aubameyang’s services.
But the club, who host West Ham this weekend, are struggling in 10th spot in the league and are out of the Europa League, which is an alternative route into the Champions League.
Arsenal confirmed on Thursday that Lucas Torreira had fractured his ankle.