Thierry Henry is hoping to see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remain at Arsenal, but the man who left the Gunners for Barcelona in his own playing days admits another prolific frontman may decide to take on a challenge away from north London.
Speculation regarding the long-term future of the highly-rated 30-year-old frontman continues to rage at Emirates Stadium.
Aubameyang is tied to terms through to the summer of 2021, but is yet to commit to a contract extension beyond that point.
Having seen several senior stars enter the final 12 months of their respective deals in recent times, with many then moving on, Arsenal are understandably reluctant to avoid a repeat of an all too familiar situation.
They want to put fresh terms in place, but may have to sanction a sale if no agreement can be reached and a tempting offer is put to them – with the likes of Manchester United and Barca said to be mulling over moves.
Arsenal’s all-time leading scorer Henry told Sky Sports of the decision facing Aubameyang: “Everybody will do whatever they have to do. How am I going to say to someone to stay when I left? Things happen but that doesn’t kill the love that you have for a place.
“As an Arsenal fan you want him to stay, but as a football player he will assess the situation with his family, with his dad, and see what is the best for them.
“If you’re an Arsenal man then you don’t want him to leave, but the guy has a career and I don’t know what’s in his head.
“All I know is that we are definitely going to miss his goals if he does leave. He does score goals and if you take the goals of Aubameyang away, it’s a tough one.
“I respect people and what they have to go through and what desire or dream they have, but as an Arsenal man, any Arsenal fan would be crazy to say he should leave.
“I don’t want him to leave, but on the other side you have to understand the guy has a life and maybe he needs to see something else. Who knows? I hope that he stays.”
If Arsenal can convince Aubameyang to stay put, there will be even more signs of encouragement for the club since Mikel Arteta inherited the managerial reins.
Henry admits as much, with a coronavirus-enforced break coming at the worst possible time for a team that had started to rebuild consistency and momentum.
The iconic Frenchman added on the progress being made: “It’s a tough one because Mikel Arteta was getting them to a certain place, you could see the organisation, they were more compact, difficult to beat, and then that happened.
“I can tell you as a coach now that is not easy to deal with because you want to carry on with what you are doing. With the players, although you are talking to them it is better to train and try to see what you can do after training at the weekend.
“It depends on who is going to leave, who is not going to leave. We don’t know about that. Who’s going to come?
“I just want Arsenal to do well and compete. I wish them the best all the time. Mikel Arteta, too, because that’s a tough job, as everyone knows. We have to give him time.”