So, the worst kept secret in football is out. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has put pen to paper for a new, three-year deal.
55 goals in 86 Premier League games with 12 assists, a further 16 strikes in cup games to bring is total to 71, one FA Cup, a Community Shield and a Golden Boot don’t tell half the story.
Quite simply Auba agreeing to stay in north London for three more years at Arsenal is the best signing the club will make this summer.
Why? Apart from the fact he is the club’s talisman. A genuine top quality striker whose goals helped salvage the worst start to a campaign in 25 years, gloriously leading the club to more silverware.
Apart from the fact that his presence as captain in leading a litany of young players to maturity through his surprisingly empathetic actions on and off the field is as heartwarming as it is important.
Apart from the fact that his all-action style is helping to once again forge a genuine threat up front in Arsenal sides who have flattered to deceive over the last 15 years.
Apart from his unselfish attitude in happily foraging down the left channel as opposed to more centrally, as befits a player of his ability is a true example of leadership.
Apart from the fact his relentless desire to score goals is once again making Arsenal a genuine delight to watch.
Apart from all that – his agreeing to play in north London for three more years is a sign that he is happy to stay at our club and wants to lead his charges, under Arteta, into a new era of unbridled success.
Yes, of course there is a long way to go. But how far?
Arteta’s sides have dismantled the Premier League champions twice this summer, moneybags Manchester City and Chelsea to lay a marker for this season.
A season that started with a joyous evisceration of a porous but committed Fulham.
How joyous it was to see a solid defence after a shaky few minutes after kick-off.
How wonderful it was to see new signing Willian bed in quickly, to see Alex Lacazette score, to see Kieran Tierney improve with every game, to see Mohamed Elneny return to give such an impressive performance.
If you add the creative Dani Ceballos to the mix, along with an ever-improving Pepe – on top of teenage sensation Bukayo Saka who wasn’t in the mix on Saturday, on top of young tyros Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson, Emile Smith Rowe – and so many others – the question is, that with Auba spearheading this array of talent, for the first time in a very long time, other teams should start to become fearful of Arsenal – not the other way around.
“I want to stay at Arsenal. I want to leave a legacy, to become a legend,” he said, stood on the Emirates pitch, with the biggest grin in the world as the club finally announced the deal.
This is what all Arsenal supporters want to hear from their captain. It was wonderful to see Aubameyang actually say it.
What a delightful feeling it is that Auba has signed to stay at the club and lead his players to a new era – in direct contrast to the traitorous Robin van Persie who walked out when the going got tough.
This is why Aubameyang is on the way to becoming a genuine Arsenal legend, while RvP will always be a mere footnote because of his actions.
Make no mistake. This is a huge coup for Arsenal.
Not least because it shows the club have the ambition to make our star player commit to three more years in a career that is rapidly passing.
While we’re at it, credit also has to go to Arsenal boss Arteta in getting Auba to sign. His man management skills are superb: Empathy and emotional intelligence allied with belief in his principles and tactics, laced with an inner steel.
Quite simply he is the man to lead the club into a new era of success
“He wants to be up there with the best players in the world and leave his mark. He can achieve that here,’ explained Arteta.
Auba can. He really can.
Follow Gooner Fanzine editor Layth on Twitter @laythy29