Arsenal have never discussed selling under-performing striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, manager Mikel Arteta said on Friday as he backed the Gabon player to hit a goalscoring streak soon.
Aubameyang signed a new three-year contract with the north London side last year but has struggled this season, scoring only four Premier League goals — the last of which was in October against Aston Villa.
Arsenal, who host Southampton in the league on Saturday, may have been tempted to cash in on the 32-year-old striker in next month’s transfer window but Arteta said that was not being considered.
“We have never discussed something like this (selling Aubameyang) and when players are under difficulty what we have to do is give them support,” the Spaniard told a news conference.
“It’s all about patches. Every player has patches and moments. It’s about trying to maintain it as long as possible and try to reduce it when they don’t.”
Arsenal have slipped to seventh in the league standings after back-to-back defeats to sit four points off fourth place. However, Arteta was convinced his side would eventually reap the rewards for their performances.
“It’s painful and even more painful for me because of the way we lost those games. Across the two matches I think we deserved much more than two defeats. It happened, so we have to manage that reality,” he said.
Arteta will be boosted by the return of young winger Emile Smith Rowe, who has recovered from an injury. The 21-year-old has been one of Arsenal’s standout players this season with five goals and two assists in the league.
Southampton, 16th, have never won a Premier League game at Arsenal and go into the match looking for their first victory in five matches after beating Villa in early November.