Alex Iwobi is now officially an Everton player after completing his move to Goodison Park. Whilst some may think that the Gunners have got a decent deal for someone who didn’t fulfil his potential in London, his departure may spell bad news for one of the club’s key strikers.
Having made just 22 starts and scored only three goals in the Premier League last season, the 23-year-old might not seem like the biggest lost on paper, but he does leave a round hole within the squad that Unai Emery may well call upon a square peg to fill.
Arsenal’s two star performers in attack are Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Between them, they scored 50 goals last campaign, and also provided a combined 17 assists. However, they rarely played as a two up front, with the most popular choice being a 4-2-3-1.
Lacazette was always given a striker’s role, whilst the Gabon international was pushed to the wing on some occasions. When played out wide, the former Borussia Dortmund striker was less effective though; compared to 32 goal contributions in 38 games as the main striker, he had just seven in 13 from the flanks.
When Iwobi took up a similar position, Aubameyang was often moved up front but with the 23-year-old now having left the club, there is a lack of talent to choose from in that role. The only obvious choice would be Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but his recent form will not give Emery much confidence, while youngster Reiss Nelson could perhaps stake a claim.
But Aubameyang looks more likely to be field out wide instead and curiously enough, the 30-year-old has featured there frequently in pre-season, even switching from one flank to the other in a 2-2 draw with Real Madrid.
That would be great news for Lacazette, who has effectively seen his only competition for a starting berth be fielded in a different position that won’t necessarily highlight his natural strengths.
But Aubameyang looks set to feature in a less favourable role that saw him be less potent last season – that could well prove to be bad news for Arsenal as well.