Mikel Arteta hopes he can convince Arsenal’s “most important player” Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to stay at the club after he scored twice to help the Gunners to a 3-2 win over Everton.
Aubameyang now has 19 goals this season and 60 in 95 games for the London club.
It has been reported that he wants to play in the Champions League next season and has been linked with a move.
“Before I took over I had my questions about him but he has shown his commitment,” said Arteta.
“I wanted him to show if he wanted to do it and do it physically.
“I’m so happy with him. He is scoring important goals and as a captain he is giving a great example to everyone else with the way he is working defensively.”
Aubameyang’s current contract runs until the summer of 2021.
He has been linked with a transfer to Barcelona, who reportedly tried to sign him in January.
“They are completely right to want him because he is a superb player,” continued Arteta. “It’s right that big teams like him. Hopefully we can convince him this is right place to be.
“I think it’s been tough for him because he has big expectations. He wants to play in the biggest competitions and with the best players. We have to help him do that. He needs to feel fulfilled.
“He is our most important player, no doubt the impact he has in this team. We will have to convince him to stay with us.”
The 30-year-old Gabon international again demonstrated his supreme finishing in Sunday’s win, giving them the lead with a low finish after Eddie Nketiah had cancelled out Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s 49th-second opener for Everton.
Aubameyang then restored his side’s lead 26 seconds into the second half with a header after Richarlison had poked Everton level in first-half injury time.
The Gunners striker also made a joint game-high three tackles for his side, along with a clearance and an interception.
Arsenal’s win lifts them up to ninth in the table and boosts their hopes of qualifying for Europe next season.
Should Manchester City’s Champions League ban be upheld, fifth place could be good enough for Champions League qualification. The Gunners are currently four points behind fifth-placed Manchester United.