Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang explains how close he came to leaving Arsenal for Barcelona

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has opened up on receiving a transfer offer from Barcelona before deciding to stay at Arsenal. Aubameyang’s future at Arsenal was finally put to bed earlier this month after he signed a new contract, but it didn’t always look a certainty.

Before Mikel Arteta took charge of the Gunners in December, Aubameyang cut a frustrated figure at the Emirates.

Rumours began to emerge that the Gabon international was heading for exit door if Unai Emery stayed on as manager.

Arsenal moved quickly to bring in Arteta to replace Emery though midway through last season and his main priority was clearly to try and win Aubameyang over.

Heading into the final year of his contract, the forward was attracting strong interest from Barcelona and other top European clubs.

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But as Arsenal’s form began to pick up, so did speculation that Aubameyang was going to stay in north London.

The FA Cup win ensured Arsenal would be competing in the Europa League this season but, despite Arteta’s repeated confidence that Aubameyang would sign an extension, no deal was yet forthcoming.

It wasn’t until after their opening game of the new season against Fulham that Aubameyang eventually put pen to paper on a new three-year contract.

The 31-year-old said at the time that he believes in the direction Arsenal are heading under Arteta.

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Aubameyang has now admitted to having received an official offer from Barcelona, but he gave two reasons as to why he snubbed a move to Spain.

“They were several offers, notably from Barcelona,” Aubameyang told Canal+.

“My priority was to stay for two reasons. The first is the coach, Mikel Arteta.

“We spoke a fair amount during the lockdown and he convinced me, notably in terms of the project.

“And of course, secondly, is the love that I receive from the fans and people at the club.

“Since I have been here, I have been treated like one of their own and – as I am one of their own – I am going to stay here. It is as simple as that.”

Arsenal have enjoyed a strong start to the new season, winning their opening two league games as well as an impressive 2-0 victory over Leicester in the EFL Cup.

But their biggest test comes this evening when they take on defending champions Liverpool, who have also won their opening three games in all competitions.

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