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Mikel Arteta has revealed he was not always confident Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would commit his future to the club.
A successful resolution to negotiations had been hinted at since the end of last season, with Arteta positive when discussing a possible renewal, even with Aubameyang's initial contract up at the end of the campaign.
But the Arsenal manager says such optimism was not always there, having identified that the club's tight finances might prove an issue.
"At the start, when I joined, I wasn't as positive as I was a few weeks ago," said Arteta, who was appointed in December.
"Obviously, financially, we were in a position where it was difficult to get what we wanted to get, and I think Auba had his doubts at the time.
"But things evolved in a natural way and I had a feeling that the club wanted to move forward.
"I had a feeling that Auba wanted to stay here and we were just trying to put those things together. That can sometimes take some time, but if the outcome is what we both wanted then we're happy.
"I played my part, which is part of my job, to try to explain to him what we are trying to do and how important he would be while we are building."
Aubameyang was linked with a transfer to the likes of Barcelona, but Arteta was adamant that the Gunners were as big as the clubs chasing their star player.
"The size of our club is as big as those names," Arteta said after Aubameyang signed.
"The most important thing is the football club. What we aspire to be, and what we can achieve in the future.
“We must make sure that our players believe in our project.”