Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has revealed that talks over a new deal for captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be put on the back burner until the summer.
Ahead of the tie with Leeds, Aubameyang used his column in the club’s matchday programme to insist speculation he was angling for a move away from the Emirates Stadium was wide of the mark.
“I would also like to react to some of the rumours that are going around about me in the media,” he wrote.
“People like making up stories and they should focus on what’s happening on the pitch. They talk too much and it does my head in!
“I am the Arsenal captain. I love this club. I am committed to it and desperate to bring it back to the top, where it belongs.”
Aubameyang’s contract expires at the end of next season and Arteta, who said he was “thrilled” to read the Gabon striker’s programme notes, said any talks over an extension will not take place until the end of the current campaign.
Asked if he was confident Aubameyang would stay, Arteta replied: “I don’t know, we haven’t discussed that. But I’m confident that he’s very happy here because that’s what he said in the media.
“I was very pleased to read those comments. He knows exactly what I think about him and obviously he’s a massive player for us.”
Pushed on if talks would take place in the summer, Arteta added: “My intention is to keep Auba obviously because I know that if we keep Auba with us, we’re going to be stronger and closer to winning football matches. That’s the only thing.
“But at the moment we’re in the middle of the season and we haven’t discussed anything further on that at the club.”