Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang admits he joined the club thinking Arsene Wenger would stay on as manager “for years”.
Wenger, who announced on April 20 that he would leave the club at the end of the season, saw out his 1,235th and final match in charge with a 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town on Sunday.
Aubameyang, who scored the only goal at John Smith’s Stadium, has enjoyed working under the 68-year-old and concedes he did not expect him to leave.
“I thought he would be at Arsenal for years,” Aubameyang told Standard Sport. “But this is life. This is football. Sometimes, you never know.
“But I was happy to play for him. I learned a lot in not a lot of time to work with him. I am happy to be here. [Sunday] was important for us because it was the last game for the boss. It was important to win this game for him. It was special.”
The Gabon striker joined from Borussia Dortmund in January for a reported club-record fee of £56million, arriving alongside Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Manchester United and Konstantinos Mavropanos from PAS Giannina.
The relatively big investment in the transfer window did not yield trophy success for the Gunners, who finished sixth in the Premier League, having lost an EFL Cup final to Manchester City and a Europa League semi-final to Atletico Madrid.
Aubameyang, though, is confident there is enough quality in the squad to challenge for honours under the next manager.
“At the beginning, it was really hard because physically I was not ready,” said the forward, who managed 10 goals in 13 Premier League appearances this season. “I did not play in January, all month, so it was not easy.
“But after big work with the staff, I found my form again. I scored some goals and thanks to my team-mates, of course, because we work for that.
“These last few weeks we played well and we have a lot of young players. It is good for the future and I am sure next season will be a good season.”