Five Reasons to let Aubameyang run down his contract
The last few days we’ve seen intense speculation around the future of Arsenal’s Golden Boot talisman Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang. There are rumours that the club won’t give him the pay rise he’s asking for to extend his stay in North London, so the big-name suitors are circling like sharks.
Gunners faithful will hate to hear it, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is one of the most-likely players headed elsewhere in the summer transfer window. The rumors of his departure are credible enough for sportsbooks to set odds on his destination, with Real Madrid leading the way at 4/1, followed by EPL rival Man United at 9/2, according to SBD.
In recent years, admittedly under different regimes, Arsenal have mishandled numerous contract renewals: they have had their hand forced (Ozil), sold players on the cheap (Alexis) and even allowed valuable assets to leave for nothing (Ramsey). Obviously – as supporters – we don’t know exactly what went on behind the scenes, and of course it isn’t our money – which, these days, involves crazy figures.
Arsene Wenger, somebody definitely qualified to make such observations, warned a few years ago that in modern football it is the players who hold the power and watching prized assets leave clubs after running down contracts would become a common occurrence.
So, against this backdrop, here are 5 good reasons, in no particular order, to keep Aubameyang at Arsenal for the final season of his current deal, even if it means losing him for no fee in 2021:
1. Given Lacazette’s inconsistency during the current campaign, I would sooner the club made the Frenchman available for sale, and since Alex is two years younger he might still command an excellent fee from an interested club. Besides, Lacazette needs a fresh challenge.
2. If Arsenal were to sell for £35 million now (as rumoured), they would probably need to spend twice that to find a replacement with similar prolific output. Is that realistic given the probable lack of Champions League as an enticement anyway?
3. Despite arguing at the time that Alexis would offer his best in his final year – he didn’t! –Aubameyang’s professed love for the Arsenal and his pride in the captaincy suggest that the Gabonese would not ‘pull a Sanchez’. If Auba continues to score as prolifically next season, he could fire the Gunners back into the Champions League – at which point the money gained by re-entering that elite competition would dwarf the money lost by not making a sale, added to the £120k per week saved by not bowing to his wage demands.
4. Arsenal has two bright, young, attacking talents in Nketiah and Martinelli who would benefit greatly from another season playing alongside and learning from the master. I genuinely believe Martinelli is a generational talent and he could be the player – having been signed for a paltry £8 million – to fill Aubameyang’s boots full-time, with no further financial outlay.
5. Lastly, and perhaps most obviously: selling now to strengthen a Premier League rival such as Chelsea or United would be unforgiveable! Memories of van Persie still make me grimace.
Who knows – should Arsenal strengthen in the window and build a team capable of supporting their star to genuinely challenge for Champions League qualification and trophies, and given The Gabonese’s love of living in N5, Aubameyang may yet put pen to paper. Particularly if the club then felt better able to afford an increase in his salary.