Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says his reputation as a top striker does not depend on winning trophies.
Aubameyang, the Premier League’s joint-top goalscorer with 17 goals this term, will have just one year to run on his contract come the summer and is yet to win silverware since joining the club in January 2018.
Mikel Arteta spoke this week of his wish to keep the 30-year-old “under any circumstances”, but with Arsenal facing an uphill battle to make next season’s Champions League their captain’s future is uncertain.
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Speaking to Soccer Saturday he said: “I’m a striker so I will defend my side – I don’t think you need trophies to be a top striker.
“Of course, it can help you but we’ve seen a lot of great players that didn’t win trophies but we respect them because of their quality.
“You don’t need to win trophies but if you win it, it’s better.”
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The FA Cup represents this season’s last chance for Aubameyang to secure his first trophy in England, and he is yet to win a league title in his career despite previously spending more than four years at Borussia Dortmund in Germany.
Arsenal reached the Europa League final last year but saw their chances of going one better this season ended by Olympiakos in the round of 32, the Greek champions progressing on away goals.
Aubameyang shouldered some of the blame for that defeat, missing a gilt-edged chance in the last minute that would have sent his side through.
The uncharacteristic miss hit the player hard in the aftermath of the game. He said: “I had the chance again and I missed it. I was feeling like ‘okay, this is my fault’ and I think this is human. That’s why I was really devastated. But this is football and sometimes that happens. The next day, I was back in training again.
“I think [the feeling stayed] for one or two days. I was sleeping really late at night thinking about it but after that it was okay because I have my family that’s here and they give me some power and I try to be strong for them.
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“I received a lot of love from my team-mates and from the fans. I received a lot of messages and at the end, I feel proud to be a football player for Arsenal and we keep going.”
With 11 games to go this season Champions League qualification is still a plausible target, and Arsenal are currently eight points behind fourth-placed Chelsea with a game in hand.
So, can the Gunners finish the season strongly and catch their London rivals?
“I think it’s possible, everything is possible,” Aubameyang said. “Last season, we were ten points down from the top four and we came back at the end and were really close, but I think we can do it.
“When you see the games we have and what the other teams have, I think everything is possible. We have to be focused on what we’re doing and I think the team is doing well. We have some thing to improve, but I’m sure that now we have more pressure because we only have the chance to be in the Champions League because of the Premier League.
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