Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is poised to pen a “three-year plus contract” at Arsenal, claims Nigel Winterburn, with a Gunners legend pleased to see a saga that has made him “very, very nervous” coming to a close.
No paperwork has been signed as yet by a talismanic presence at Emirates Stadium.
Fears have, however, been eased when it comes to a possible departure for the Gabonese striker, with encouraging noises having been sounded in north London for some time.
Mikel Arteta has stated on a regular basis that he expects positive news to be delivered shortly, with Aubameyang ready to commit to the 2020 FA Cup and Community Shield winners.
Winterburn is relieved to see the 31-year-old staying put, with it virtually impossible for Arsenal to consider bringing in a suitable replacement for a man who has scored 72 goals in 111 appearances for the club.
“My understanding is that the contract is done, it's not signed, and that Aubameyang will be at Arsenal for the foreseeable future,” former Gunners full-back Winterburn told Stadium Astro.
“My understanding is it's a three-year plus contract. It seems to be taking a long, long time, it's made me very, very nervous.
“He's the one player Arsenal really cannot afford to lose, particularly with what Mikel Arteta is trying to achieve.
“You've got all positive vibes coming out, you're bringing through some good players, if then you were to lose your top striker, your talisman, the leader at the club...
“Until it's signed I won't believe it, but my understanding is the agreement is there. It's in place, he will be at Arsenal next season.
“Aubameyang knows how much he's valued not only at the football club but by Arteta. Arteta has spoken about Aubameyang on numerous occasions, he's captain, you know, he's a player you cannot afford to lose.
“He's trying to structure a team around him and even though we're talking about Aubameyang's contract, I believe he will sign and stay, he still has to keep that drive and desire going or else Arteta will be looking to replace him.
“At this moment in time, there is no replacement that Arsenal can afford to get for Aubameyang. So they have to in a way, a little bit roll over and give him somewhere near the money that he wants.
“Also I think Aubameyang will be saying back to the club, 'Who are you bringing to the club to make us competitive? First of all to get us back in the Champions League.'
“They've got the right manager in charge, they're starting to bring in the right players, now we just need to get Aubameyang's signature which I think will be revealed very, very shortly and Arsenal hopefully will be on the right tracks again.”
Arsenal opened their 2020-21 campaign by seeing off Fulham 3-0 in a London derby at Craven Cottage, with Aubameyang among the goals in another morale-boosting success.