Mikel Arteta insists Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang still has much more to give to Arsenal despite a recent improvement in his performances. The Gunners captain has only scored nine times in the Premier League this season, a marked reduction from the 44 he managed across the previous two campaigns. Aubameyang scored just twice in 14 appearances in all competitions from mid-September to the middle of December, but his form in front of goal has improved of late, the Gabon international having netted eight times in his most recent nine outings.
Manager Arteta is happy with Aubameyang's improvement but believes there is more to come from the player.
"Obviously, the stats are much better and related to who he is and what he needs to bring to the team," Arteta told reporters ahead of Thursday's Europa League last-16 first leg against Olympiacos.
"But still, I think he could score many more and he could do better in other aspects. He needs to keep having that mentality and he has that mentality.
"We need players performing at their maximum. When Auba is in a much better place, obviously the team will be in a much better place because at the end, things are decided in both boxes, and what he can produce in the opponents' box has an incredible impact for our team.
"In big moments, you need to have big players performing and making the difference. It looks like, at this moment, he's firing, he's happy, physically he's in a good moment and he's full of confidence."
With Arsenal 10th in the Premier League table and with their FA Cup defence having been ended by Southampton, the Europa League represents their best chance of a trophy and a way back into the Champions League for next season.
Having announced a £47million loss last week amid the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, European football could be critical to Arteta's chances of putting together a squad capable of challenging England's best again.
Despite the potentially tricky year to come, Arteta is confident a major turning point is coming in Arsenal's modern history.
"I want a sustainable club. We all want a club that can be run with their own resources. It is great we have the support from our owners," he said.
"We have had that in the summer when it was much needed because of everything that has happened with COVID and what happened at the club in the last three years without the Champions League and the hit that that took.
"But our responsibility and everything we are planning for the future is for this club to go back to being sustainable on its own and being all the time as strong as possible in every department and the financial department is crucial as well.
"I think this project is going to go 'bang'. This is where we are, but sometimes it is difficult to see the moment now but I'm sure where we are going.
"We have created a really strong group, a really strong bond with our players, with our fans, with our staff and that is going to pay big in the future.
"You need to win to convince anybody that you are doing a good job in the club and taking them in the right direction.
"If you are not inside the club every day and know exactly what is going on within the club, the only way to convince anybody is to win."