Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is now odds-on to stay at Arsenal this January after he denied reports of a move away in the Gunners’ programme for their FA Cup match against Leeds.
Aubameyang had been linked with moves to Barcelona, Manchester City and Real Madrid, but he publicly quashed those rumours in his captain’s column – saying “I love this club. I am committed to it and desperate to bring it back to the top, where it belongs.”
After his statement, plus manager Mikel Arteta’s promise that the Gabon international will not be sold, 888Sport moved to shorten his price of staying at the Emirates this month to a heavily odds-on 1/10.
The odds of him being signed by Barcelona this window have been pushed to 4/1, with Manchester City (6/1), Manchester United (9/1) and Real Madrid (11/1) all looking increasingly unlikely to sign the striker.
With his immediate future almost certain to be with Arsenal, former Gunners defender Nigel Winterburn has urged his old employers to open up contract talks to tie the 30-year-old down, with just 18 months remaining on his current deal.
“There’s been a lot of speculation surrounding Aubameyang but I presume the club want him to stay so they may have to reopen negotiations over a contract extension,” Winterburn told Bookmakers.co.uk.
“But also, you have to look at the flip side of that. If a player decides he wants to leave a football club, then there’s not a lot the club can do about it these days because these players are earning so much money that you can’t really affect them in any way.
“You’ve got to get them to believe that they are so important for the club and that the club is moving in the right direction.”
Will Ozil Stay Too?
With Aubameyang’s future more or less secured for the time being, Mesut Ozil is now set to be the biggest subject of transfer speculation around Arsenal for the remainder of the January transfer market.
The former Germany international has been as short as 1/7 to join Fenerbahce in recent weeks, but a notable return to form under Arteta has seen those odds drift back out to 2/1 with Paddy Power.
“His level of performance has risen since Arteta has come in,” Winterburn told Bookmakers.co.uk.
“He looks happier doesn’t he? I’ve always said about Ozil that you need to get him on the ball, get him focussed and fit him into a style of play that he’s comfortable with and accept the way he plays.
“If Arteta can do that, then he has someone with real quality on his hands.”
Winterburn believes Arsenal are moving in the right direction, although he wants to see their recent improvements displayed over a full 90 minutes, with the Gunners only impressing in short spells under Arteta so far.
Following their 1-0 FA Cup win over Leeds on Monday, he said: “In the first half Arsenal were very poor, although I thought Leeds were very good and moved the ball well.
“Arsenal were disjointed when they tried to press. The front three pressed but the midfield didn’t and the back four were too deep. It was a very lazy and sloppy first-half performance to be honest.
“Having said that, I thought in the second half they were excellent. They came out with a lot more aggression, moved the ball a lot better – it was a completely different performance to the first half.
“They also played well for 45 minutes against Manchester United and Chelsea, so there are some encouraging signs, but I’m still waiting to see a full 90 minutes of impressive football.
“If they’d started like they did against Leeds against one of the top Premier League sides, they’d cause themselves a few problems.
“But overall there are encouraging signs, particularly given the amount of injuries Arteta has had to contend with. I’m looking forward to seeing how Arsenal progress from now until the end of the season and where that can take us.”