Football

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on his way out of Arsenal: Rio Ferdinand

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is convinced that Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has already decided to leave the Emirates.

The Gunners captain scored twice to help his side come from behind to beat 10-man Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup final yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Ferdinand's belief stemmed from the comments made by Aubameyang, after the 31-year-old Gabon international said, "I'm not thinking about this, I'm going to celebrate with my teammates", when asked about his future.

"He's gone from that reaction. He's already decided," Ferdinand said of Aubameyang, who has a year left on his contract though Arsenal do have the option to extend the deal.

"'I'm going to enjoy this with my teammates', he sounds like someone who is going elsewhere... there have definitely been negotiations or he's already decided I'm going to go.

"Arsenal need to do all they can to keep him. He was unbelievable... but the Arsenal fans adore him. Is he going to find that elsewhere in his career?"

Ex-Chelsea star Joe Cole added that Aubameyang should leave Arsenal for a club who are more likely to win major trophies.

"If I'm him and the big boys come in, I'm going. I want to win big trophies," Cole said.

However, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta believes Aubameyang will be convinced to stay by the Gunners' upturn in fortunes since the Spaniard took charge in December.

"He knows what I think about him, I want to build a squad around him," said Arteta of his captain who helped the Gunners to not only a record-extending 14th FA Cup but also secure a spot in the Europa League next season.

"He wants to stay, it is about getting the deal done. Moments like that will give him belief that we are on the right path and he is a big part of it.

"He is loved by everyone at the club so, hopefully, he will continue with us." - AFP

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