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What should Arsenal do about Pierre Emerick Aubameyang?

There have been painfully few genuinely world class footballers at Arsenal Football Club in the Emirates era. The list is shorter than many of us Arsenal fans would like to admit but this is the reality. This has certainly played a big part in our inability to compete at the very top. This sobering opening is being made only to highlight the importance of the issue we currently face.

The Signing of Aubameyang

Arsenal fans knew exactly what we were getting when Aubameyang walked through the door at London Colney. A bonafide star capable of winning the golden boot and propelling Arsenal to our former heights. His inheritance of the famed Number 14 shirt added to the magic and just a few minutes into his debut against Everton, Gooners all over the world got a glimpse of what was to become a regular fixture at the Emirates – Aubameyang finding the back of the net.

Some talked about a poor attitude. Aubameyang has been at the club for 2 and a half years and it’s safe to say that he has lifted the club, fans, staff and colleagues with both his demeanour and his performances. We can put the aforementioned accusations firmly to rest.

He has gotten to 50 goals quicker than any other player in Arsenal’s history. Since February 2018, only Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski, Kylian Mbappe and Ciro Immobile have outscored him across the top five European leagues. He was the joint winner of the Golden Boot last season and is on course to fight it out for this year’s award.

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang is a bonafide star.

Should Arsenal offer him a new deal?

This is a ludicrous question to be asking. Without doubt, Aubameyang should be offered a new contract with terms that are favourable to him whilst keeping Arsenal’s best interests in mind. I believe that Raul Sanllehi, Edu Gaspar and Mikel Arteta would all agree with this. This is a player that represents our best hope of rejoining Europe’s top table and playing in the Champions League.

Why hasn’t Aubameyang extended his contract at Arsenal yet?

It looks like there are two significant challenges that are blocking an extension from happening.

The first challenge is that Arsenal cannot offer him Champions League football as things stand (that could change come the end of the season). There is no denying that a player of Aubameyang’s calibre absolutely deserves to play in the Champions League. He is soon-to-be 31 years old and is at the peak of his powers. In the 32 games that he has already played in Europe’s elite competition, he has scored 15 goals. Not too shabby. If he wants to be playing at the highest level and we cannot offer that to him, we’re in a tricky situation. Let’s hope we have a phenomenal final stretch of the season.

The second challenge is the terms of his contract. In most circumstances, he would be completely deserving of being Arsenal’s top earner. In our current predicament, that would mean having to pay him more than 350,000 pounds a week because of Mesut Ozil’s contract and this is where things start to look bleak. Even prior to the coronavirus, it looked unlikely that Arsenal were going to offer him a contract to make him the top earner at the club. In the current global climate, that is almost certainly not going to happen.

What happens next?

I sincerely hope that Aubameyang chooses to sign the contract. Arsenal fans would be absolutely ecstatic.

Having said that, if Aubameyang makes it crystal clear to Arsenal that he has no intention of signing a new deal, we are left with two options.

  1. He is sold in the summer.
  2. He leaves on a free transfer at the end of the 2020-21 season.

Both options would be absolutely devastating. Putting our feelings aside, we have a responsibility to take a closer look at them.

Should Aubameyang be sold in the summer?

In a pre-coronavirus world, with one year on his deal, I can envisage Aubameyang being sold for 50 million pounds at the most. He will be 31 years old in just over two weeks. With no chance of resale value and a question mark over how long he will stay in peak condition (as an Arsenal fan I believe it will go on for many years), I simply cannot see clubs willing to spend more. 50 million might be pushing it.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a pre-coronavirus world. We live in a world where the coronavirus has changed the landscape of football in terms of club finances. In this climate, can we honestly be expected to get anything north of 30 million pounds for Aubameyang? I highly doubt it. Can we replace his goals with 30 million quid? That wouldn’t be possible even with 50 million and additional financial backing from the club.

If however, we did sell Aubameyang, we would have to place our faith in Lacazette to be the spearhead of our attack and the expectations on Nicolas Pepe would grow even larger. I strongly believe Pepe will have a very positive end to this season and strong second season but he would absolutely have to for us to have a chance to succeed.

Young players like Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah would have to step up to the plate and play well beyond their years but that is something I would be excited about particularly with the Brazilian.

The funds raised from Aubameyang’s sale would have to be used to boost our team in midfield and attack (and defence) but it would be essential for us to accept that we would have to begin another rebuild a mere 24 months into our first rebuild.

Should Aubameyang be allowed to run down his contract and leave on a free next year?

If Aubameyang doesn’t renew his deal and is happy to stay for another year before leaving on a free, I believe Arsenal should keep him. Our chances of getting into the champions league next season without Aubameyang are slim.

With him, I believe we can achieve our goal. Transfer activity is likely to be minimal this year as a result of the financial environment. Our rivals competing for champions league spots are unlikely to strengthen heavily this year. With Arteta’s rejuvenated, ever-improving Arsenal side and Aubameyang in the front three, I firmly believe in our chances to finish in the top 4 next year.

The riches earned by getting into the Champions League at the end of next season and the doors opened recruitment wise as a result, would offset the financial loss represented by Aubameyang leaving on a free.

Conclusion

“You will see more and more players going into the final year of the contract because no club will want to pay the amount demanded…in the next 10 years, it will become usual.”

 – Arsene Wenger

It’s only been three years since Wenger said this but it doesn’t seem too far from the truth. Eden Hazard left Chelsea with one year on his deal and Paul Pogba seems to be running his contract down. Edinson Cavani and Willian will be free agents this summer. Kylian Mbappe only has two years left on his contract at PSG.

The reality is, finding an attacker like Aubameyang who is the best striker in the team and one of the best in the world who willingly plays out wide so that we can field our strongest team, is a rarity. His workrate, attitude and reliability are absolutely top class. I am hopeful about his renewal and dream of watching him retire at Arsenal as a club legend. Replacing him is impossible. Having said that, we’ve lost bonafide stars in the past and the world hasn’t ended. We have regrouped and rebuilt. If we have to, we will do so again.

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Mark Williams
Mark Williams
1 month ago

Sell him tired of hearing his name

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