Charlie Nicholas speaks out on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future and sends message over Manchester United move

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang poses with the FA Cup after Arsenal's victory over Chelsea
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has less than 12 months remaining on his Arsenal contract (Picture: Getty)

Charlie Nicholas says he’s ‘very optimistic’ that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be playing in the red and white of Arsenal next season and encouraged the striker to resist the urge to join a direct rival like Manchester United this summer.

Aubameyang, 31, scored a brace at Wembley last weekend to help Arsenal to a 2-1 victory over Chelsea and secure the FA Cup for a record 14th time.

The double took Aubameyang to 29 goals in what was a magnificent campaign from a personal perspective but there remains uncertainty over the forward’s future, considering there are less than 12 months remaining on his contract at the Emirates.

Aubameyang and David Luiz celebrate with the FA Cup
The Gabon striker scored 29 goals across another outstanding season (Picture: Getty)

Aubameyang refused to be drawn into the speculation when put on the spot shortly after Saturday’s final but ex-Arsenal star Nicholas believes the Gabon international has been showing signs that he’s happier than ever in north London.

‘The lifestyle that Aubameyang has got at Arsenal in London is stardust and I think he likes that,’ Nicholas told Off The Ball.

‘I think he plays on that. He’s got his supercars and he can do whatever he wants because he’s the king,

‘If this is about money, he can say to Arsenal: “this is what you need to pay me”. If it’s not and he just wants to move, Arsenal can’t stop it.

‘But the last five or six games, he’s worked hard going back, he’s an absolute goal machine and you see the smile and appreciation of what he does which is brilliantly scoring goals.

‘Also also, the link up with [Nicolas] Pepe, with [Mikel] Arteta, with [Alexandre] Lacazette, with the midfield players… that tells me there’s something in there that he’s loving and we love him for that.

‘If he wants to go, we can’t stop it but I’m hoping. What I see is because he puts a shift in and he feels that Arteta could be right.

‘Now that means we have to pay him [Mesut] Ozil’s wages and the reason being is that he guarantees goals. And if you guarantee goals at Arsenal, you guarantee that Arsenal are going to get closer to winning the title and getting back to the Champions League.’

Nicholas has grown increasingly confident that Arteta can convince Aubameyang to stay beyond the summer and feels the attacker would be foolish to consider a move to Old Trafford.

Asked where Aubameyang ranks in terms of Europe’s top strikers, Nicholas responded: ‘He’s right up there and that’s why I can see Real Madrid and Juventus looking at buying him because they’re all trying to do deals to sell off as they need some money – everybody needs it, Barcelona included.

‘Then they’re trying to work out who is cheaper and who is the best buy and because of Aubameyang’s age, people try to look at that number.

‘At one stage if was suggested around £30million for Aubameyang and I thought: “who put that number on him?! That’s ridiculous!”

Charlie Nicholas chats on a panel for Sky Sports
Nicholas is hopeful Aubameyang will stay with the Gunners (Picture: Getty)

‘I do genuinely believe if I said to Aubameyang right now that there’s two in England that are bigger than Arsenal: there’s Liverpool and Manchester City. Does he really want to go and join Manchester United? Are they getting closer? My answer is no.

‘I think Manchester City and Liverpool are still way out there. I don’t think Juventus are miles ahead, Barcelona are struggling for cash and I don’t think Real Madrid are so rich as what they were and what they want.

‘So I’m finding that for one of the best strikers and certainly one of the best finishers in world football, I am very optimistic about him being in the red and white of Arsenal.

Nicholas added: ‘He helped make Dortmund become a big club again after being in the doldrums and maybe this is how he sees Arsenal – being in the doldrums and gradually getting right back to the top again and him being a major fabric of that.

We have to be careful that we don’t get carried away because he might just say one day, “I’m not re-signing” but the small choices that he has, I think we fit him perfectly.

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