Mikel Arteta has given his most positive update yet that Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will sign a new contract to remain with the club because the manager “likes what I’m hearing”.

Aubameyang is in the final year of his contract and will be free to leave the club next summer if he elects against extending his current deal, which would likely result in Arsenal looking to sell the striker during this summer’s delayed transfer window in order to recoup some of the £56m they spent on him two and a half years ago.

The 31-year-old Gabon international, who sits third in this season’s Premier League goalscoring charts after notching 20 goals so far with two games to play , has remained coy on his future, with negotiations taking place in the background.

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But ahead of Arsenal’s penultimate Premier League fixture this season against Aston Villa on Tuesday, Arteta appeared increasingly confident that Aubameyang will extend his current deal and ease what is currently one of the biggest concerns for the club.

“I don’t know, to put a date right now is very difficult,” Arteta told Sky Sports about any deadline on negotiations. “I like the way the conversations are going, I like what I’m hearing. I’m sure for both parties, the quicker we can do it, the better for everyone.

“I am confident he will extend his stay.”

Since arriving from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018, Aubameyang has been regularly moved from the left flank and the lead striker role, though has still managed to score 66 goals in all competition that has included surpassing 20 league goals in each complete season at the Emirates Stadium.

Arteta hopes that Aubameyang’s apparent happiness at Arsenal and with life in England in general will lead to an agreement on a new deal.

“He’s generally happy,” Arteta added. “I think he is enjoying his football. He is settled in the country and his family are good.

“I think he can sense – and we’ve told him – how much we like him, how much we value him. I think the connection he has with the fans is unique. I believe he is in the perfect place for him.

“Everything I have from him and the people around him is the same. So I don’t have any arguments to say something different.”

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