Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn says he hopes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will still be with the Gunners next season.
However, he insists that the Gunners cannot afford to let him run down his contract, with the Gabon striker now having less than 18 months remaining on his current deal with the club.
Aubameyang is Arsenal’s top scorer this season with 17 goals in 29 appearances in all competitions, but his future has been the subject of speculation, with La Liga giants Barcelona linked with a move for the 31-year-old in January.
That failed to materialise, but the speculation over his long-term future at Arsenal remains, with his contract set to expire at the end of next season.
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And Winterburn has urged Arsenal to make a decision this summer over his future.
“I hope [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang will be an Arsenal player next season but they have a decision to make,” he said, speaking to GentingBet (18+ BeGambleAware).
“Arsenal have never been a big spending club. His contract’s up next season and they’re not going to let someone run down their contract again, although they’ve got little opportunity if he wants to do that.
“If the indication is that he’s not going to sign, they may have to take the opportunity and say ‘right, we’re going to take £40 million or whatever’.
“I don’t think they’re going to get £70 million or £80 million that they’re talking about with a year left for a player that’s coming to 31 years of age.
“For me, it’s more important whether the player wants to stay, who comes calling in the summer, and do Arsenal take the risk or can they convince him to sign a new contract? At the moment, it’s so difficult to call.”