KEY POINTS

  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opts for self-improvement and passes on big money from Barca
  • Aubameyang wants to leave a legacy with Arsenal FC
  • Mikel Arteta convinced Aubameyang to stay

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could have opted to join another club with bigger pay this window. Instead, the Gabon striker chose to stick it out with Arsenal FC to improve and leave a legacy after Mikel Arteta convinced the 31-year-old to stay.

FC Barcelona and Inter Milan had their sights on Aubameyang. Barca dangled a tempting $446,000 per week salary, big money that would easily sway any normal football player.

But the Gabon captain is no ordinary footballer. He is looking at the bigger picture, one that includes improving his game and leaving a mark at Emirates Stadium, Sky Sports reported.

"I was like 'I feel good since you came, I'm improving, and the philosophy is very, very nice so I just want to stay' and he was like 'I'm sure if you stay you can leave a legacy, but it's all about you and what you want. Of course you can leave and go for trophies in big clubs as well but I think you can create a legacy here in this great club,'" Aubameyang said of Arteta.

Aside from the coach, the club and fans also played a role in his decision to turn down other teams that came knocking on his door.

"I was thinking about it to tell you the truth because I had good opportunities as well," Aubameyang said of the other offers he received. "But this feeling to be here - the love from the fans and all the club - I'm not sure that by leaving I will receive the same love, so that's why I'm staying."

At his age, Aubameyang may have gotten the last big deal of his football career, though that is subject to debate.

For as long as the Gabon international can keep himself injury-free and maintain his level of play, he should be fine. Some players have shown they can play beyond their mid-30s, although the length of their contract may not be long-term. Regardless, Aubameyang can leave a legacy and stay at Emirates Stadium for a long time – barring any unforeseen circumstances.

For Arteta, sealing the deal with Aubameyang is a huge relief. The Spanish coach earlier admitted that he had tense moments when there was no contract signed, Goal reported. But he did his part and just waited for everything to follow.

"I had a feeling that Auba wanted to stay here and we were just trying to put those things together," Arteta said. "That can sometimes take some time, but if the outcome is what we both wanted then we're happy."

Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored in the win at Fulham Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored in the win at Fulham Photo: POOL / Ben STANSALL