As Arsenal enter a new era under Mikel Arteta, some of the same issues still seem to be occuring.
The club has seen star players Samir Nasri, Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas, Patrick Vieira, Robin van Persie, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez enter the final year of their contract in recent times – with all of them eventually leaving the club without renewing.
Despite the obvious warnings that they need to deal with these issues earlier, it’s happening again. After securing the future of youngster Bukayo Saka after he entered his final year, the club are still negotiating with captain and star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gabon striker is currently free to leave the club in July 2021 and is reportedly assessing his options. According to ESPN, Aubameyang has told Arsenal that he wants £250,000 per week with a three-year deal if he is to re-sign. As of this writing, the Gunners are yet to agree to these terms and their initial offer from December is still on the table.
His demands have raised the question of whether Arsenal should pay him or not. At 31 years old, this is likely to be his last hurrah at the top level. He’s been moved from his favoured central striker role to a more left-wing position under Arteta but has continued to perform and is still the club’s top goalscorer. Despite all the trouble and under-performance at the club during his time there, he is on course for a second golden-boot in the Premier League in as many full seasons. Surely that’s enough reason to keep him on, right?
Well with the club currently undergoing a rebuild, could that money be put to better use? The club could pay a £30million fee for a player on £80,000 per week for five years with the same figures that Aubameyang is asking for. That money could prove useful, plus whatever fee they could catch for Auba this summer if they were to sell him.
Some fans are also worried about what would happen to him once age inevitably catches up with him. The club currently have Mesut Ozil still on their books earning a reported £350,000 per week but the German can barely make it into match-day squads currently, despite the bigger bench than usual. With his wages making it nearly impossible to sell him on and collect a fee, the club are stuck with him. It’s a genuine concern too since Aubameyang will be 34 by the end of the new deal he wants, who will be trying to sign him at that point on the wages he earns?
Arteta has a decision to make with Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli currently coming through the ranks and determined to break into the first-team.
I think they would be crazy to let Aubameyang go. The money can be spent elsewhere but they won’t be able to replace his goals with that kind of money in the current market, likely without European football too. He guarantees goals, even if not for the entirety of the three-year contract. It will also be a statement of intent from the club that they’ve tied down their two biggest assets to new contracts despite the rebuild.
Arsenal have a decision to make and it needs to be made quickly, but to me it seems like a no brainer. Get Aubameyang to ‘sign da ting’.