MIKEL ARTETA is confident Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is ‘totally’ committed to Arsenal and rejected the suggestion he will become another Mesut Ozil.
The Gunners skipper, 31, signed a new £350,000-a-week contract in the summer to tie himself down at the Emirates until 2023.
But his performances this campaign have been below his usual standards – while disciplinary issues have also come to light.
Arteta, though, insists he remains ‘positive’ about his forward.
He said: “I’m always positive about the future but once you think about things that happen in the past or compare different situations and personalities I won’t do that.”
Asked if Aubameyang was committed to the cause at Arsenal, the manager added: “Totally.”
Aubameyang has 14 goals from 33 appearances this term but was dropped for the crunch North London derby in March due to lateness.
Since then, he was anonymous in the league clashes against West Ham and Liverpool before being relegated to the bench once again for the Europa League on Thursday.
He did come on against Slavia Prague, setting up Nicolas Pepe’s goal, but also missed a great chance – and some are fearing ‘history is repeating itself’ following the Ozil saga.
The German playmaker was paid £350,000 per week but fell out of favour and ended up not playing for Arsenal for ten months before his contract was ripped up, allowing him to join Fenerbahce for free in January.
Jamie Carragher commented: “It looks like history is repeating itself with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
“It is easy to apply retrospective wisdom when looking at the lucrative contract given to Aubameyang and say it was an expensive mistake. It wasn’t at the time.
“Unless Aubameyang constantly steps up as he did when creating Nicolas Pepe’s goal on Thursday night, Arteta has the same problem as he faced with Ozil last summer, with a well-paid underperformer absorbing massive wages.”
But Arteta was content with Aubameyang’s contribution in his 12 minutes against the Czech outfit.
He added: “Yes because we talked before – in the Europa League everyone has contributed in different ways, the whole squad has been involved and yesterday’s role for him (was) he was sat on the bench and to make an impact and he made an impact.
“He assisted Nico and should have scored a tap-in with his left foot and that’s what the players have to do when they come in.”