Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says he is eager to join Arsenal’s list of Premier League title winners, but also admits that Champions League qualification is the club’s main priority in 2020-21.
The Gunners have not competed in Europe’s elite competition since 2017, and it has been over 16 years since they were last crowned champions of England.
Arsene Wenger delivered three titles during his 22-year reign at the club, but their decline began under his stewardship and his successor Unai Emery was unable to rediscover past glories.
Emery was dismissed in November 2019 after just 18 months in the hot-seat, with ex-Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta drafted in as his replacement after a successful spell serving as Pep Guardiola’s No 2 at Manchester City.
Results and performances have improved significantly since the Spaniard’s arrival, with a run to FA Cup glory serving as proof of progress, and positive moves have also been made away from the pitch in recent months.
The Gunners have made some shrewd moves in the transfer market, signing former Chelsea midfielder Willian on a free transfer and bringing back Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid, while also tying down talismanic striker Aubameyang to fresh terms.
Aubameyang had been linked with a move away from the Emirates after entering the final year of his contract, but penned a new three-year deal earlier this month after deciding to snub interest from Barcelona.
The Gabon frontman has hit 72 goals in 112 appearances for Arsenal, and he is determined to earn a place in the club’s hall of fame before his time in north London draws to a close.
Asked what he must do to cement a standing as a Gunners legend, Aubameyang told Sky Sports: “Hopefully win a league. I think this is very easy to answer but for sure, yeah, I need to win the league but I still have work to do and I feel far from those legends, but at the same time I know that I can reach it.”
Although the Arsenal forward is hoping to get his hands on more major silverware as soon as possible, he says returning to the Champions League is the main target for the squad come the end of the current season.
“I think everyone has one goal – to go forward and bring back the club to where it belongs. It’s now a few years since we’ve played in the Champions League, for example, and for me and all the club, it hurts – not just a little bit but a lot,” he said.
“When you win trophies, you want to win more trophies and this is what it’s about. We want to compete, first of all for the league, I think this is the biggest point. We want to be back in the Champions League, we have to stay humble for sure.
“We cannot pretend to choose to play for the first place but we want to be part of the teams to compete for the first place and as I say, to stay humble and work hard and in the end try our best to win more trophies.”
Aubameyang added on the instant impact Arteta has had at the Emirates: “When he came, the first day, we were in a room where I remember there were some chairs on the floor, everywhere in the room.
“So he brings the players, the staff and all the people working here and he said ‘this is the club right now, so you’re going to work all together and first of all, clean this room, and then we’re going to talk.
“After this you think ‘OK, I think he’s right, and we’re going to follow this way’ and this is how he made it and we have a lot of respect for him because he was a player as well. When you have a coach who knows what they’re doing, you just have to follow.”