Mikel Arteta Says He Wants to Build Team Around Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang After FA Cup Win

Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta has won his first trophy as a manager just eight months after taking charge of Arsenal | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Mikel Arteta was naturally jubilant after securing his first trophy as a head coach, doing so by leading Arsenal to a 2-1 comeback win over Chelsea in Saturday’s FA Cup final at Wembley.

Christian Pulisic had given the Blues the lead early into proceedings, but a brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang turned the game around and saw the Gunners lift their 14th trophy in the competition – two more than any other side.

Speaking on the club’s official website, the Spanish coach understandably said it was the greatest moment of his career to date: “I think so [that it’s a career highlight]. I’m really proud of what we have achieved because I know the difficulties and everything that we have been through. For me personally, it’s been so tough the last six months because of a lot of things that have happened in our lives.

“But I had only one mission when I came here and it was to make the players and the staff believe that we could do it. We had to change that energy and that mentality. Just by seeing them in the dressing room all together, the way they enjoy the professionalism and their time together… it makes me more proud and it’s a consequence of that, that afterwards we can achieve things and win titles together.

The headlines will go to Aubameyang for his contribution at Wembley, with the club’s top goalscorer proving yet again what an invaluable asset he is to Arsenal. However, talk of a contract extension has still not reached an amicable conclusion with 12 months on his deal left to run. The topic will be discussed heavily over the coming weeks, but Arteta is confident the striker will pen fresh terms.

“Well, you asked me my opinion and that’s the feeling I get [that he’ll stay] with conversations with him and his people, but obviously nothing is done yet and I want to enjoy the victory,” he stated. “Thanks to Auba again for the performance that he had and how much he helped the team.

“Everything is based on my conversations with him, how he sees his future, what I expect from him, the team that I want to build around him and the conversations I have with the people who are very influential around him. The club, we all respect and admire him, the players are all behind him. We know the players that we have and we have to value him. I think if we reach all of those points, we’ll make progress.”

While the Premier League season was the worst the Gunners have endured for 25 years, securing silverware just eight months after taking the job ensures Arteta’s first season in management has ended on a high note. The 38-year-old insisted this was a step in the right direction for Arsenal, and just the first of many trophies to follow.

He concluded: “I knew the challenges I was facing the day that I decided to come here and the expectation is what we’re always going to have because the history and legacy of this football club is incredible. But here is the first one, let’s enjoy it today and we know that there is still a long way to go of improving on many other things, but it’s something that I’m very proud of with how we’ve changed a lot of things since we joined.

“The players have been fantastic and the staff, thank you so much as well to the people upstairs who have given me the opportunity to represent and manage this incredible football club. Again, thank you so much to the people for their support and belief.”

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