The phrase “one step forward two steps back” gets tossed around a lot in football, but for Arsenal, one big risk in the transfer window could well have that phrase reversed. Selling one of their star men could see them kick on massively, taking one step backwards to go two steps forward.
The player in question is the goalscoring machine, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and there are so many reasons why the Gabonese international could be allowed to leave this summer.
“Auba” is being linked with a move away from the Emirates by The Times, who have reported that the soon-to-be 30-year-old striker is being offered wages of around £300,000 p/w by Chinese Super League clubs Guangzhou Evergrande and Shanghai SIPG. Should the transfer fee involved be as astronomical as these touted wages, Unai Emery may have no choice but to let his hitman go.
There are a lot of reasons why you may want to see Aubameyang stay put this season, Arsenal fans, but there’s quite a few reasons as to why he should leave too. The first of those is his age. This season he bagged 22 league goals at the age of 29, but by the start of next season he’ll be in his thirties, and with pace a huge part of his game, his biggest threat will soon dwindle.
Then you’ve got the fact that whilst the electric hitman did bag 22 top-flight goals last season, securing him the joint Golden Boot alongside Liverpool wingers Sadio Mane and Mo Salah, he also recorded the highest tally in the division for big chances missed with an incredible 23 (Premier League).
So, we’ve established that Aubameyang misses sitters and is getting on a bit, but in terms of Arsenal’s progression as a club, moving him on could help ten-fold.
Not because he’s not the quality they need, far from it, but instead because his transfer fee could bankroll their entire summer. The Daily Star have claimed the Gunners have just £50m to play with, and Auba can bring in more than that on his own.
If that isn’t enough reason to think the 29-year-old should have played his last game for the club, then we’ll give you one more – Alexandre Lacazette. The Frenchman won Arsenal’s player of the season award for his incredible performances this campaign, yet he often spent time on the bench as Emery accommodated his strike partner, so who knows how well the Frenchman would have fared with the limelight all to himself.
It might be tough for Arsenal fans to come to terms with, but if Emery can sign two or three players in problem areas with the Aubameyang money, get an ageing player out of the squad and give Lacazette the game time he deserves, they simply have to take it, don’t they?