Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang does not need to win laurels to prove he is a world-class striker. The Gunners boss added that the Gabonese international is on the same level with Tottenham striker Harry Kane.
Aubameyang has been excellent for Arsenal this season and his brace against Everton on Sunday took him to level with Jamie Vardy at the top of the Premier League’s goalscoring charts with 17. His two superb goals, one in 33rd minute and the second in the 46th minute along with an earlier goal from Nketiah in the 27th minute, saw Arsenal keep their top-four hopes alive.
Since joining Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018, the 30-year-old has scored 49 league goals in just 74 appearances and he is on track to win his second successive Golden Boot after winning the individual award last season.
Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville sparked a debate on Sunday by saying Aubameyang doesn’t get enough credit what he has achieved with Arsenal, adding that the prolific frontman should be compared to the likes of Sergio Aguero and Mohamed Salah.
“He’s not mentioned as world class,” said Neville. “We don’t mention him as a Premier League great and I think we have to.”
It is said that one of the reasons why Aubameyang is not always mentioned as a world-class striker is that he has yet to lift any silverware since moving to Arsenal two years ago.
Speaking ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League tie with Olympiacos, Arteta said his captain is a world-class striker and should be given his due respect. Arteta added that trophies do make it easier for players to get recognition they deserve.
He said: “Yeah but Harry Kane has scored 30 goals and never won the Premier League, you know?
“There are a lot of good examples of players that do phenomenally, but unfortunately there are a lot of top teams in this country and only one wins the League. So you can’t have everything in life.
“I think they do talk but obviously with top players who are playing at clubs that are winning constantly, there is more impact on that.
“But we all know how good Auba is. It is remarkable what he is doing and how consistent he has been over the years to do it, which is very very difficult to do.
“I think we all appreciate, at least at the club, his value and what he brings to us.”
Arteta worked with top forwards during his time as an assistant at Manchester City, namely striker Sergio Aguero, and he believes Aubameyang is in a similar class.
“I wouldn’t like to compare but what I can say with Auba is that he’s right there with the best of the scorers in this league,” he added.
“In the last 10 years if you look at his record and what he’s done in the game it’s phenomenal. In my opinion, he’s up there with the best.
“I think if he had been the top scorer in the league, and won the league, then he would have been voted the best player in the league for sure.
“You need both. You need individual performance and you need the collective side of your team as well to support that.
“That is where we have to take a step forward to try to convince these top players to want to stay at our club and be successful and be happy.”
Arsenal is currently ninth place in the English Premier League with 37 points and in order for the Gunners to finish in top four, they would need to win all of their remaining games to catch up to fourth place Chelsea who currently has 44 points.