While play is suspended over the Coronavirus pandemic, one thing every football fan will want to discuss is transfers. Arsenal fans will most likely be aware of the fact that star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be out of contract in the summer of 2021, meaning the club will have to make a decision on his future immediately.
Will the deadly former Borussia Dortmund man stay in north London? Will he leave the club for pastures new? If so, what will the club do to replace him? Or can’t they? Let’s dive down the rabbit hole in the first of a series of articles titled, ‘Arsenal Transfer Triage’.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Dominate Arsenal’s Summer
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang‘s goalscoring record since joining the Gunners is impeccable. Since his transfer in January 2018, he has found the back of the net 60 times across all competitions. That’s in addition to jointly-winning the Golden Boot last season as the Premier League’s top scorer.
It is, therefore, unsurprising that inking the striker to a new contract is at the top of the to-do list for Raul Sanllehi and his team. Losing a player who scores around 30 goals across all competitions every season reliably is a rare commodity.
Replacing Aubameyang would be next to impossible and the club would likely not be able to find a like-for-like replacement. That would mean strengthening the team in other areas to try and make up for Auba’s absence.
That makes his impending departure a dominant force in the club’s transfer plans for the summer of 2020.
A New Contract Ideal
Of course, signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to fresh terms would constitute an ideal scenario for Arsenal. Even when deployed as a winger, the Gabon international still bags goals and so keeping the player at the club would only help the Gunners in their pursuit of trophies and Champions League football.
But, what would have to happen for that to become a reality? A footballer is motivated by many things, only some of which a club can control. For any player, money is a big factor, as is winning silverware. Getting minutes is also important, but that isn’t a concern for a player of Auba’s stature.
Getting minutes in the Champions League, as well as having a chance at winning the elite competition, would surely be on the mind of any player who possesses Aubameyang’s eye for goal.
Arsenal’s situation at the moment may not quite align with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s likely desires. They are a club who are nowhere near winning a Premier League and the chances of attaining Champions League football for next season are dwindling by the day, even with play suspended.
There is the chance that the remainder of the league season will be called off, which would leave Arsenal sitting ninth and without European competition of any kind. That means that the club would have to convince Auba to stick around for a potential Cup win for silverware and only the possibility of future European football.
All signs point to a huge weekly wage being the only incentive enticing enough to keep Aubameyang at the Emirates.
How Wise Would a Mega-Contract Be?
Arsenal already have one enormous salary on the books in the form of Mesut Özil. While Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang still takes home a handsome wage each week, giving him an Özil-esque pay rise would hamper the club’s ability to bring in new talent in the transfer market.
There may be an overhaul in the summer which may see multiple players leave. Shkodran Mustafi seems a likely candidate to leave should a suitor appear. Both Mohamed Elneny and Henrikh Mkhitaryan seem destined to leave after going out on loan for this season.
It is possible that should all these players depart the club will have the resources to make an offer Auba can’t refuse. However, unless Özil himself goes, that seems an unrealistic possibility.
With a squad in need of at least one new midfielder, more fullback options, one or even two wingers and possibly a central defender, the current needs will quite probably lead to the sale of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
How To Move On?
Losing the beloved Auba would not only sadden every Gooner, it would also leave the club with a need for a goalscorer, of which they already have. However, it would likely yield a sizeable transfer fee.
Simply put, players of Aubameyang’s ilk simply don’t leave on the cheap. Even when the striker went on protest at Dortmund to force the move to Arsenal, he wasn’t pried away for less than market value.
Likely if and when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leaves north London, it will be for a large payout. That money will have to be used to secure first-team players to compliment the current squad.
The burden of scoring goals would fall to Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah primarily, although the teenage sensation Gabriel Martinelli may need to contribute as well. Nicolas Pepe would also be expected to add more goals to his game.
It would leave the club still short of wide options, which is where Arsenal would have to look to add more goalscoring threats. Reiss Nelson is showing some promise, although he looks about half as dangerous as his promise showed at this time last year.
If it does happen, losing Auba will seriously affect Arsenal’s transfer plans. However, if he stays, it may still hamper their ability to sort out the rest of the squad this summer.
Just as he dominates his club’s plan on the pitch during the season, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will dominate the summer transfer plans of Arsenal.
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