Mikel Arteta has revealed he was not always confident Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would commit his future to the club.
Aubameyang, who scored in the Gunners' opening Premier League win at Fulham, signed a new three-year deal at Emirates Stadium this week.
A successful resolution to negotiations had been hinted at since the end of last season, with Arteta positive when discussing a possible renewal, even with Aubameyang's initial contract up at the end of the campaign.
But the Arsenal manager says such optimism was not always there, having identified that the club's tight finances might prove an issue.
"At the start, when I joined, I wasn't as positive as I was a few weeks ago," said Arteta, who was appointed in December.
"Obviously, financially, we were in a position where it was difficult to get what we wanted to get, and I think Auba had his doubts at the time.
"But things evolved in a natural way and I had a feeling that the club wanted to move forward.
"I had a feeling that Auba wanted to stay here and we were just trying to put those things together. That can sometimes take some time, but if the outcome is what we both wanted then we're happy.
"I played my part, which is part of my job, to try to explain to him what we are trying to do and how important he would be while we are building."
Aubameyang joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018 and has since scored 55 times in the Premier League, as well as winning the FA Cup last season.
The 31-year-old was linked with moves to Barcelona and Inter before signing new terms in London.