Thoughts on Aubameyang’s Career After Arsenal
For those that don’t know, I’m a huge fan of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
I’ve written about him several times on the blog, ranging from when we were muddled up in his contract extension situation, to when he signed da ting and even wrote a piece on him when he was in Barcelona lighting up La Liga with goals from pillar to post.
In 163 appearances for Arsenal, with most of his starts predominantly on the left wing, the Gabonese superstar scored 92 goals and was odds on to hit a century for the club before things turned for the worse in the latter end of his career at Arsenal. Yes, things had really deteriorated between the former captain and his manager, or I dare say, the club at large, which saw him lose his captaincy. However, the sequence of events that saw the star forward move to Barcelona on a free transfer, yes, free transfer, was downright shambolic. If Arsenal had not signed Nicolas Pepe for £72m, Aubameyang would have remained the club’s record signing, and to see him leave for nothing left a lot to be desired. Firstly, there was the bit of the captain flying to Barcelona on his own when both parties had not reached an amiable conclusion, which speaks in volumes. Then there was the talk of how the deal was off because both clubs could not agree on terms, leaving the Gabonese forward red faced, then there were pictures of him already in training with the Catalan outfit, when the deal had not been made official.
From the best of my knowledge, it is believed that the forward and the club parted ways ‘by mutual consent’. This indicated that Aubameyang, so desperate to leave the club, parted ways with his fat pay check to join cash-strapped Barcelona for next to nothing, On one side of the divide, Arsenal was lauded for ‘conducting a smart piece of business’, saving themselves about £25m in wages that would have been holed up for the best part of 18 months on a player who’s future with the club was done. It takes us back to the very messy Mesut Ozil situation that saw the German maestro rot on the bench consistently, offering no value to a team that was clearly bereft of his creativity. Here with Aubameyang, Arsenal decided to cut ties with a striker that produced close to a century of goals, sticking with just Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah that campaign, that struggled to score the goals required on a consistent basis.
Lacazette eventually lost his place to Nketiah, with the young forward scoring a couple of goals in the tail end of the campaign, but it was not enough to secure Champions League football, as the defeats to Newcastle and Tottenham put the final nails in the Champions League qualification coffin. To make things worse, Auba was having the time of his life with Barcelona, scoring 13 goals in 23 apps for the Catalan giants.
Arsenal moved on to secure the services of Gabriel Jesus last summer, while Barcelona got their long-term top target, Robert Lewandowski, who became a direct threat to Aubameyang’s place in the starting lineup. With Auba not wanting to play second fiddle to the Polish superstar, he moved to Chelsea, Arsenal’s London rivals, much to the chagrin of the North London faithful.
Unfortunately, his Chelsea career has not panned out as he would have hoped, and even though he has managed to score three goals for the club with one in the 2-1 win over Crystal Palace in October 2022, and two goals against AC Milan in the group stages of the Champions League, Aubameyang lost his place in the squad to Kai Havertz and has had to make do with paltry appearances from the bench, showing lack of desire and looking out of sorts every time he’s on the pitch.
Ahead of Arsenal’s clash against Chelsea on Tuesday, Mikel Arteta was hopeful that the fans would show some respect based on what he did for the club, especially the FA Cup win in 2020.
“Let’s say thank you, pay respect and gratitude for what he was. He was an incredible player for us, scored a lot of goals, he was our captain and he deserves that”
On the night, it was a different affair, as the home crowd booed Aubameyang, made things hostile for him and even jeered him when he unleashed his inner Romelu Lukaku with a bad first touch from a routine pass. Aubameyang endured a torrid time in his 45 minutes at the place he once called home, having only nine touches of the ball with four from kickoff. Lampard compounded his embarrassment, yanking him out at halftime for Havertz who was equally worse.
Arsenal legend, Ian Wright, felt embarrassed for Aubameyang, and Lampard refused to comment on his decision to axe him after the break, even though he didn’t need to explain in all honesty. The player himself, took to Instagram to voice his frustrations with what you’d probably call a cryptic message,
“You know sometimes, people forget what’s the real life and forget about how you can’t control what’s gonna happen”
Miss me with that B.S!!!
Aubameyang is a grown ass man that made his grown ass decisions and has to live with it. There were rules, he breached them and had to face the music. Maybe it could have been handled better by the player, his manager or the club, but Aubameyang was the one that ensured all bridges were going to be burned with the shenanigans he pulled to facilitate his move to Barcelona. Even after he found a new lease of life at Nou Camp, he had the option of staying behind to battle for a starting berth with Lewandowski, and with the Spanish giants in several competitions, Auba would have had his chance, but he chose to move to Chelsea and hasn’t done enough to prove he’s a first teamer there.
At 33, he’s approaching the twilight of his career and he will look back at the Coupe de la Ligue he won at St. Etienne, one German Cup and two German Super Cups with Dortmund and the FA Cup he absolutely delivered at Arsenal. With 304 goals in 606 games, Aubameyang has enjoyed a prolific scoring career, and it’s unfortunate that his swansong isn’t as he’d have hoped.
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