Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been one of the standout performers in this season’s English Premier League much as he has been in all his time at London club Arsenal.
The Arsenal hitman was joint-winner of the Golden Boot last season and has netted 17 goals in the Premier League this season – a number bettered only by leading scorer Jamie Vardy (19 goals) of Leicester City.
Aubameyang’s form has added to his legacy at the Gunners, where he has scored an incredible 61 goals in 96 appearances across all competitions since he arrived from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018.
And yet in that time, the 30-year-old has tasted zero trophy success with the Gunners. He has been a runner-up in both the Carabao Cup and the UEFA Europa League, but that’s not a good enough return for a player regarded as one of the best goal-poachers in the game today.
Hence, it comes as little surprise that ‘Auba’ is being strongly linked with a move away from Arsenal, as he prepares to enter the last year of his contract (which will lapse at the end of the 2020-21 season).
The main candidates to secure his signature include La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, as well as the Gunners’ Premier League rivals Manchester United.
The speculation has been strongly highlighted in the British media, especially at this time of reduced football activities, but the player himself explained earlier this month that he remains happy at the Emirates.
“I try to always be ready, whatever happens. I am a guy who tries to be always ready,” Aubameyang stated.
“I love the fans here and when I was younger I used to watch Arsenal because they had always great players, and yeah they won trophies as well. So I think it’s really a pleasure to be here, I’m really happy. I think that’s the feeling.”
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, on the issue of Aubameyang’s future, has said: “For me, it is very easy. I want to keep him under any circumstances.”
With both player and manager happy for the relationship to continue, surely Aubameyang will remain at the club? It’s not that simple. Should Arsenal fail to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League, it would add further fuel to the speculation fire and lessen the likelihood of a contract extension.
This would mean the Gunners will miss out on the last chance to recoup a significant amount of the £56million they spent to sign Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund just over two years ago – and with the possible absence of funds from the UEFA Champions League, a decision with such financial ramifications cannot be taken lightly.
Essentially, Aubameyang’s future at Arsenal may very well depend on how they perform when the Premier League season resumes.
If they can make up an eight-point deficit to the top four (with a game in hand) then the African star may well stick around in London for years to come. Anything less and Gunners fans may have to brace themselves for the departure of yet another major player.
Pierre–Emerick Aubameyang –
2019-20 Premier League Stats
Appearances (subs): 26 (0)
Minutes played: 2305
Yellow cards: 3
Red cards: 1
Shots per game average: 2.5
Passing accuracy: 72%
Key passes per game average: 0.8
Dribbles per game average: 0.5
Fouled per game average: 0.5