THE last few days we have seen intense speculation around the future of Arsenal’s top scorer and talisman Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang.
There are rumours that the club will not match the pay rise he is asking for to extend his tenure in North London, which has led to numerous high-profile suitors apparently hovering.
In the past, admittedly under different regimes, Arsenal have left themselves open to having their hand forced on contracts (Ozil), selling players on the cheap (Alexis) and even allowing valuable assets to leave for nothing (Ramsey).
Obviously – as supporters – we neither know all the goings-on behind the scenes, nor is it our money, and let’s face it: the figures are crazy these days.
Arsene Wenger, who was privy to the above situations, warned a few years ago that in modern football, players hold the power and seeing prize assets leave clubs after running down contracts would become commonplace.
So, against this backdrop, here are five good reasons, in no particular order, to keep Aubameyang for the last season of his current deal, even if it means losing him for no fee in 2021:
If Arsenal are thinking about selling for £35million now (as rumoured), they would probably need to spend twice that to find a replacement with similar prolific output.
Is that realistic given the probable lack of Champions League as an enticement anyway?
DO THE MATHS
Whilst I felt similarly about Alexis giving his best in his final year – which did not work out! – Aubameyang’s self-proclaimed love for the club and pride in the captaincy strongly suggests the Gabonese would be different.
If he continued next season in the same scoring vein, the £28m difference between the saved £120k per week pay rise and the reduced £35m sales price would seem irrelevant if the club regained Champions league status and the financial reward that would entail.
LET LACA LEAVE
Given his inconsistency during the current campaign, I would sooner the club made Alexandre Lacazette available for sale.
And with the Frenchman being two years younger, he might still command an excellent transfer fee.
Lacazette needs a fresh challenge.
Arsenal have two bright, young, attacking talents in Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli and I would love for them to be able to learn from the master, as they grow and develop next season.
In Martinelli, I genuinely believe we have a generational talent and he could be the player – having been signed for a mere £8m – to fill Aubameyang’s boots full-time, with no further financial outlay.
Lastly, and perhaps most obviously: selling now to strengthen a top four rival such as Chelsea or Manchester United would be unforgivable!
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