The case for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to stay at Arsenal
By Rob Worthington
As each day of 2020 passes, Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang edges closer and closer to his 2021 contract expiration. The situation is reminiscent to that of the contractual circumstances of Robin Van Persie and Alexis Sanchez in recent years, both of whom ended up forcing themselves out of the club.
Nonetheless, the situation we have found ourselves in with our current club captain does differ slightly. Aubameyang has only been at the club for two years and the man who turns 31 in June is what many clubs would consider to be past his prime. Despite his remarkable current conversion abilities, how can potential suitors be so sure the poacher’s skills in this area of his game aren’t going to diminish in the near future?
This leads me on to the overriding message of this article, where will Aubameyang actually go to realise his hopes of winning trophies? He’s never hidden his desire to play for Real Madrid at some point in his career due to the wishes of his deceased grandfather, but it’s believed they are building for the future, which means the 30-year-old doesn’t really fit the criteria for what Zinedine Zidane is looking for.
Meanwhile their El Classico rivals Barcelona are plush with attacking options and have supposedly already coveted Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez. There is no way the former Dortmund number 17 could be guaranteed a start at either Spanish Giant.
Then, there is the option to move to Italy. A number of high profile Premier League players have left to Serie A over the last year or so and it certainly looks an attractive prospect for Auba, as he’d be given the opportunity to prove AC Milan, who wrote him off at the start of his career, that they were wrong to do so. Nonetheless, at Juventus he’d be cast into Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow, Inter Milan already have Romelu Lukaku as their main man up top and a move to Napoli would undoubtedly represent a downgrade for Aubameyang.
There has also been talk of a potential domestic move for Aubameyang, with Manchester United being touted as favourites to sign Aubameyang if he chooses to leave Arsenal and stay in England. However, United, similarly to Real Madrid, are focussing on signing players for the future, particularly British players. This means Aubameyang certainly doesn’t represent the sort of player they are looking to sign at the moment. In addition, any move to a domestic rival would tarnish his legacy at Arsenal which I just can’t see him wanting to happen. This begs the question, is there actually anywhere our number 14 can leave to in order to win trophies and be guaranteed game time? I certainly don’t think so.
Despite the encouragements from the Gabonese football federation’s president last week, stating that Auba would be better off finding a more competitive club, I would be inclined to disagree with this notion (yes, I am slightly biased, but hey-ho). At Arsenal, Aubameyang will remain the star of the show for years to come, he’ll be able to end his career as the captain of one of Europe’s biggest teams and he would leave us as a club legend.
As Paul Merson wrote last week, the grass is not always greener once you have moved on from Arsenal. Just look at the fortunes of Alexis Sanchez following his departure from North London. For me, Aubameyang’s got a good 4-5 years left in him at the top, and I believe that time would be best spent with Gunners, with the rest of the world remaining in awe of him.