ARSENAL admit they could keep unsettled Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – and that would end any reported interest in Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard.
The London side have been linked with the Hoops hitman as they have searched for a long-term replacement for his fellow-Frenchman.
But manager Mikel Arteta is now insisting the club will hold onto Aubameyang instead of selling him for a knockdown price, according to a report in The Sun.
The charismatic attack-leader, who turns 31 this month, is picking up something in the region of a staggering £200,000-per-week on a deal that is due to expire next summer.
The Emirates outfit are prepared to see him walk away for nothing in a year’s time rather than accept a cut-price offer. They are demanding £20million for the player who arrived from Borussia Dortmund two years ago at the cost of £56million.
The club’s head of football, Raul Sanllehi, declared that no player will be allowed to run down his contract after Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck all left the club as free agents.
GOAL-DEN BHOY…Odsonne Edouard celebrates a goal in the 4-0 win over Motherwell at Fir Park in February.
But that policy could be relaxed this summer in the face of a depressed transfer market due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Arteta believes Aubameyang can continue to be a star in his team beyond the summer of 2021 and wants to discuss a new deal.
Arsenal paid a Scottish record fee of £25million to lure Kieran Tierney from Parkhead last year, but it would be highly unlikely they would even consider a move for his former colleague Edouard if the ex-Ibrox midfielder, who took over at the London giants during the season, could persuade the team’s current marksman to extend his stay.
Barcelona showed interest in Aubameyang in January, but the Spaniards were unable to meet the £50million valuation.
Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Inter Milan have also been keeping tabs on his situation, but the Gunners insist they will keep him if their asking price is not met.
Edouard, who cost £9million from PSG in June 2018, still has two years of his contract to run and boss Neil Lennon is eager to keep the club’s talisman for the tilt at 10 in a row.