‘We’re jumping to give these players contracts’ – Martin Keown questions timing of bumper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang deal

The striker was again ineffective against Palace
The striker was again ineffective against Palace (Picture: Getty Images)

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struggling for form at the Emirates over recent months, Martin Keown has suggested Arsenal may have awarded their captain with a new long-term deal too early.

The Gabon international bagged 27 goals across all competitions last term, including a brace to sink Chelsea in August’s FA Cup final triumph.

With his deal at the time due to expire at the end of the 2020/21 campaign, the north London club moved to hand him a lucrative contract that runs until 2024.

Aubameyang led his side to FA Cup glory in August
Aubameyang led his side to FA Cup glory in August (Picture: Getty Images)

Since agreeing to those new terms on September 15, the 31-year-old has scored just twice in the Premier League and often cut a forlorn figure on the pitch.

And Keown feels Arsenal handing their players mega-money contracts early is a sign of ‘desperation’.

‘This is a worry and it’s almost like what Arsenal do in desperation,’ the Gunners legend told talkSPORT.

‘With Aubameyang, I understand the position that Arsenal were in… they roll out these contracts, these lengthy contracts.

‘We’re jumping to give these players contracts way before the contract finishes.’

With Aubameyang going through a difficult spell, Keown believes the onus is on his team-mates and manager Mikel Arteta to help the captain rediscover his form.

‘You do your talking on the pitch and at the moment he’s not quite with it,’ Keown added.

‘We’ve got to help him to find his best. That’s the rest of the team, the responsibility of the manager. 

‘But at the moment on the wing it’s not happening for him. He needs to play either centrally, or sit and look at it and watch it and grow that passion and desire to get back where he was this time last season.’

MORE : Ian Wright identifies major worry for Mikel Arteta after Arsenal draw against Crystal Palace

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