MIKEL ARTETA fears in-form Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will not be recognised as a true goalscoring great until he wins a major trophy.
Arsenal striker Aubameyang is joint-top of the Premier League scoring chart alongside Jamie Vardy on 17 goals — after banging in 22 goals last season and sharing the Golden Boot with Mo Salah and Sadio Mane.
He has now scored a staggering 60 goals in 95 games in all competitions for the Gunners since his £60million move from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018.
But boss Arteta believes that contribution is often overlooked because the club have failed to mount a title challenge or competed in the Champions League during that time.
Arteta said: “If Auba had won the league as well as been the top scorer, then he would have been voted Player of the Year, for sure.
“We all know how good Auba is but it’s true the players who are with clubs that are winning constantly have more impact.
“But to get the recognition you need both personal and collective success and this is where we need to step forward so we can convince our top players to stay.”
Gabon ace Auabameyang, 30, has less than 18 months remaining on his £180,000-a-week Emirates contract and has yet to agree a new deal.
Arsenal are wary of letting him run his contract down — but Arteta refuses to put pressure on him. The Emirates coach added: “The club has a very clear idea of how we want to develop things.
“They are in constant communication with the player’s agents and I completely trust them on this.
“Auba is not going to get distracted by transfer talks. He’s very used to that.
“But if you lose him, long-term the impact is obvious.
“It would be very difficult to replace a player of his calibre.”
We all know how good Auba is but it’s true the players who are with clubs that are winning constantly have more impactMikel Arteta
Arteta worked with Manchester City goal-machine Sergio Aguero during his time as Pep Guardiola’s No 2.
Spaniard Arteta said: “I don’t want to compare them but Auba is right there with the league’s very best scorers.
“His record over the last ten years is phenomenal.
“But there are a lot of players that do phenomenally, yet don’t win silverware.
“Harry Kane has scored 30 goals and never won the Premier League.”
What makes Aubameyang’s Arsenal record all the more impressive is the fact he has spent most of his time on the wing to accommodate Alex Lacazette through the middle.
Lacazette is set to lead the attack in tonight’s Europa League last-32 second-leg clash against Olympiakos.
Arsenal lead 1-0 thanks to France international Lacazette’s late goal last week.
The striker said: “Auba is so much more than just a goalscorer. He works a lot defensively, making space for the other striker.
“It’s really important we keep him because he’s been our best player this season.”
Lacazette has scored in his last two games after enduring a nine-match drought.
Arteta revealed: “He was a little bit down but then he scores two in two.
“The most powerful lift for him was the reaction of his team-mates against Newcastle.
“He was like ‘Wow!’ because that reaction made him really feel they care about him.”