Arsenal’s greatest players being connected with European giants is nothing new and, this season, it is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being lined up by Barcelona.
Before his long term injury, there was lots of speculation Héctor Bellerín would follow the identical well-worn path, also.
The previous check-point in front of a participant succeeds to the highest level of club football.
As a result of their long-standing refusal to cover star salary and their subsequent failure to secure meaningful silverware, they can’t hold onto their best players.
Aubameyang could be the next to swap North London for Catalonia — if reports coming from Spain should be believed. Barcelona need a centre-forward and this month after losing Luis Suárez to knee ligament damage for the best portion of the remainder of the season.
The Uruguayan just turned 33 and there was a feeling this could be his final season in Camp Nou.
Remarkably, target asserts the Catalans are just interested in taking the Gabonese ahead on loan. It seems incredibly unlikely, verging on the absurd, that Arsenal would let their talisman and captain to depart on a short term basis when they are still hoping to make the top four.
However, a loan with an obligation to purchase or a straight-up sale may not be the worst thing for the Gunners — as counter-intuitive as selling your very best player halfway through the season seems.
At 30, Aubameyang would control a substantial transfer fee — more so in January.
The Spaniard isn’t expected to have the ability to conduct any substantial company this month with the Gunners’ coffers rather low after a surprisingly pricey summer shopping spree.
But with Kieran Tierney overlooking the rest of the year and Sead Kolašinac injured too, left-back is an issue. Instead, they will need to hit a pre-contract arrangement and wait until the summer to take him for free.
Selling Aubameyang, then, should give Arteta the funds to resolve those pesky holes in his group. But there is more to it than simply balancing the books.
Fitting Aubamayeng and Alexandre Lacazette in the same side was a battle for Arteta and Creator Unai Emery. Even though the pair flourished together last season, it was felt that the latter endured in the hands of former Borussia Dortmund forwards Aubameyang; forced into a subservient role.
Now there’s the precocious Gabriel Martinelli to take into consideration. The 18-year-old Brazilian gave a stunning audition for the part of Arsenal’s starting striker by scoring a sensational goal at Chelsea in the week, carrying the ball out of halfway before demonstrating the composure to slot outside Kepa Arrizabalaga.
It was just his first Premier League attack, however, with ten in most contests, the child is banging on the door.
Furthermore, there’s the somewhat delicate matter of Aubameyang’s standing inside the dressing room. A variety of reports have claimed that the forward isn’t a popular figure with a few squad members feeling the prior Milan child is too selfish and not enough of a team player to become captain.
Matters are exacerbated by his connection with AFTV (previously called ArsenalFanTV) that’s now in the centre of a rather nasty and petty dispute being segments of the club’s support. The feeling is that the YouTube station, made famous by rants from a hysterical cast of match-going lovers, is an unhelpful and negative influence around the Emirates which exerts a lot of influence.
Aubameyang has mostly avoided criticism against this especially vociferous part of the Arsenal service as a result of his connection with those behind the station — most especially ‘Troops’ — and this has been well-received internally. It’s been seen as an act of self-preservation on Aubameyang’s part while Bellerín hasn’t pulled any punches in his assessment of the channel.
“I don’t think there are players that go on the world wide web to watch ArsenalFanTV,” Bellerín stated in 2018. “It does occasionally pop up in your timeline. I see it occasionally, some friends say’oh have you heard what that man on ArsenalFanTV said?’
“It is so wrong for somebody who claims to be a fan and their achievement is fed off a collapse. There are just people hustling, trying to earn money their way, which everybody is entitled to do.”
Despite these factors, selling Aubameyang, now in the season, wouldn’t go down well with Arsenal fans — even the rational, non-AFTV characters.
Whoever has more Premier League goals (14) or shots (55) for Arsenal than Aubameyang this year while his total anticipated goals (xG) is the greatest at 9.1 and his xG + xA comes out in a team-high 11.2. Certainly, he remains an integral part of the group.
However, there are enough reasons that capitalising on Barcelona’s curiosity would make sense. Management is all about big decisions, and for new Gunners coach Arteta, they would not come much larger.