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Thoughts on the Aubameyang Contract Situation

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Aubameyang celebrates goal

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is one of the players in the current crop whose contract is scheduled to expire at the end of next season. David Luiz, Bukayo Saka, Mesut Ozil, Skhodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos are in the same category, but it’s evident that if Arsenal has an option to keep one player from the aforementioned crop, it will be the man that has scored 61 goals in 97 appearances for the club, in just two-and-a-half seasons so far. 

Losing Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck on a free transfer was shameful to say the least, as both players sales would have contributed massively to the club’s coffers, especially with Ramsey being one of the sought after deep lying playmakers in his position, but Juventus acted swiftly and snapped the Welsh Jesus for free when they were supposed to have paid some good millions for him. This prompted the club’s Head of Football, Raul Sanllehi, to state clearly that the club will not allow ‘key players’ leave on a Bosman. A few years have gone since Sanllehi’s famous words and here we are again, with the potential to lose one of Europe’s most feared center forwards for nothing, should the club decide not to sell him this summer.

At least, Aubameyang has not done a Robin van Persie yet, saying things that would irk the Arsenal faithful, but he has said the right words, stating that he’s focused on Arsenal, as confirmed by the head coach, Mikel Arteta. Since Arteta joined the club in December 2019, his impact has been immense and there have been several reports from the playing staff confirming how he has steadied the ship that was sinking without trace under Ser Ebening. Arteta has already proved his worth in the Granit Xhaka situation, after it was evident that he was odds on to leave to Hertha Berlin in January 2020.

This Aubameyang contract situation leaves us with only three plausible options, which I intend to discuss anon.

  • Option One: Sell him off to the highest bidder and reinvest the money in another good center forward
  • Option Two: Play hard ball and shove off all potential suitors, allow him play his final campaign and let him go on a free transfer next summer
  • Option Three: Find a way to get him to sign da ting!!

Option One: Bye-Bye Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

It’s not a surprise that a quality player like Aubameyang approaching the last year of his contract with the club will be on the radars of the biggest clubs in the game, and when the Express reported that FC Barcelona declared their interest in signing the Arsenal ace, I was hopeful it was not going to materialize to something concrete. Barcelona will be a good fit for Aubameyang with legendary forward, Luis Suarez, in the September of what has been an illustrious career. The amount mentioned on these streets is £50 million, and it has also been reported by the Sun that Real Madrid is interested too.

Knowing that such big bad footballing wolves are huffing and puffing at the Emirates to blow the house down and get them some Aubameyang, the club’s resolve will be tested in the scenario where the player and his representatives don’t reach an amicable agreement with his contract. It’s not a good situation to be in, but for what its worth, Aubameyang will not be the first player to be in such a situation, and he will not be the last. 

Option Two: Serve Your Time and Leave for Free PEA…

Arsenal is no stranger to this option as the memories of the Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck situation is still fresh in our minds. With Welbeck, it was evident that the club was no longer interested with his services, especially with the litany of injuries and his overall inconsistent plays, not to forget those world famous air shots. It was the contractual situation with Aaron Ramsey that left a lot to be desired. There are several stories and conspiracy theories of what went down between the club and the player’s agents, but what we know for sure was that Ramsey loved the club so much that he gave Arsenal 11 years of his career, 369 appearances, 64 goals, one broken leg and of course, three FA Cups.

Seeing how he was moved to tears on his final presentation showed his class as a player and what Arsenal represented in his life.

The potential exists for the club to take the same approach with Aubameyang, you know, meet with his representatives in the course of the season with the hope for him to sign a new deal, after closing the door to all the vultures trying to get their claws on him this summer, only for the deal to break down and it becomes evident that the talismanic forward will be leaving on a free transfer.

Yeah, there will probably be some gnashing of teeth and despair among the Arsenal faithful, but as the saying goes,  soldiers come and go, but the barracks stay eternal.

Option Three: Find a Way to Get Aubameyang to Sign da Ting

Who remembers that protracted saga Arsenal had with Theo Walcott to sign a contract extension? At some point, it looked that Walcott was not going to renew that deal, despite all the attempts from the club, probaly some players and especially the fans to persuade him. We came close to another situation with Mesut Ozil, where he signed the famous £350,000 per week deal has become the stick we always use to flog him with. 

The Telegraph has reported an interesting article stating that Arsenal gaffer, Mikel Arteta, is at the forefront in the charge to convince Aubameyang to remain at the club,

Arteta is preparing to initiate talks and hopes to impress the 30-year-old and his father. Rather than leaving the matter in the hands of the club’s contract and transfer chiefs, Arteta believes he can make a difference by taking a hands-on approach to Aubameyang’s future.

He wants to convince Aubameyang that Arsenal can once again finish in the top four and compete for trophies.

Arteta is a much loved and respected figure at the club, forging a wonderful understanding with the fans in his playing days and doing his bit to bring that connection back to the fans as a manager. It is clear that since Arteta took over, there have been massive improvement at everything connected with Arsenal, from the style of play, to the results, to performances of some individuals that performed so poorly under Emery, to even the atmosphere at the Emirates.

He convinced the deposed wantaway club captain that his future still lies at the Emirates and Xhaka became an important cog in the midfield machine. When clubs were struggling with finances following the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, Arteta convinced the players to take a 12.5% pay cut, which was hugely publicized, earning him the right plaudits. 

He will have it all to do to convince Aubameyang to commit his long term future to the club but with Arteta on the helm, the club has been on the right direction, and Aubameyang has seen it first hand. Going far in the Europa League would have represented the best chance to qualify for the Champions League, but the Gunners still have 10 games in the Premier League to at the very least, fight to the very end.

Finally, it still boils down to one player – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and we can only hope that he makes a decision that is best for him and Arsenal football club.

Sayonara.

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Transfer Deadline Day: Cedric Soares Joins Arsenal

Cedric

Cedric Soares

The January transfer deadline day is back again as clubs make those last minute deals required to solidify their squads ahead of the grueling second half of the football campaign. Arsenal, like other Premier League clubs, have had their fair share of transfer deadline day drama, with that famous ‘trolley dash’ of 2011 that saw Arsene Wenger sign five players after the humiliating defeat to Manchester United. We also remember the Andrei Arshavin saga that was protracted to the point the transfer window had to be extended for the deal to go through.

It was evident that defensive recruitments were required this January in the wake of the well publicized challenges faced from Calum Chambers’ long term injury and Skhodran Mustafi suffering a knock as well, which made the Gunners sign Pablo Mari on loan from Flamengo. In addition to Pablo Mari, Arsenal has confirmed the signing of Southampton’s Cedric Soares on loan till the end of the season. 

Arsenal’s Technical Director, Edu, had some good words to say about the new signing, 

“Cedric is a defender with good experience of the Premier League, and of course at international level. He is another strong addition to our defensive unit who will provide our squad with quality. I know he is a player who plays with absolute full commitment and energy. We are all looking forward to going into the last stages of the season with Cedric as part of the club.”

Cedric has spent the best part of five seasons with Southampton and has been an ever-present for the Saints until this season, when he struggled with injuries and form. He had a very brief stint with Inter Milan but it didn’t work out with the Italian giants featuring him just four times. Cedric is a seasoned professional that has bags of experience and an instrumental part of the Portugal squad that won the 2016 European Championship. 

His transfer to Arsenal clearly changes the dynamic for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, that has been a good utility squad member, filling in for the unavailable folk on specific occasions. AMN is a central midfielder by trade and has done very well under Mikel Arteta but having a natural like Cedric gives balance to the team.

His transfer is also regarded as a shrewd piece of business as he arrives to the club on loan and will be available as a free agent this summer. His loan spell will serve like an audition and let’s hope he does enough to secure a long term deal.

Sayonara.

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Cedric on the Way and Pablo Mari Loan Confirmed

Cedric

Cedric Soares

After a series of negotiations between Arsenal  and Flamengo, a loan deal for Pablo Mari was reached and the club unveiled Dani Ceballos their shiny new defender. The Telegraph reported that Arsenal has some interest in signing Southampton’s Cedric Soares, which will add some depth on the right back position. 

Defense is a department of the squad that requires massive overhauling with the Gunners conceding goals for fun this season. Yes, Bernd Leno, has been superb with some breathsaving saves in the course of the campaign, but the defensive leaks have not been patched, with the Gunners languishing in mid-table and finding clean sheets hard to come by.

We expected a center back to join the club in the January transfer window, with the injury problems faced by Calum Chambers and more recently, Skhodran Mustafi. Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Rob Holding have gone in and out of the treatment table in the course of the season, leaving David Luiz as the fittest center back of the bunch, but he’s reaching his twilight years. It was a case of the club linked with Pablo Mari, Mykola Matviyenko or some defensive alien from outer space, but the defensive situation at the club is a huge cause for concern.

Arsenal fans will be hoping for Pablo Mari to hit the ground running, but I will expect him to stay on the bench when the Gunners visit Turf Moor to take on Burnley this weekend. The home game against Newcastle should be a perfect platform to unleash Pablo Mari to the Arsenal faithful and I believe he will turn out to be a wonderful signing for the club.

Cedric Soares, on the other hand, is a vastly experienced right back that was instrumental to Portugal’s triumphant Euro 2016 campaign. He has been an ever-present for Southampton since he joined the club in 2015. Cedric has had his fair share of injury problems, but he has been a model of consistency for the Saint. 

I also love the fact that he has a decent free kick in him and his delivery from the right flank will come in handy. He will also serve as a good back to Hector Bellerin, but one wonders what the future would hold for Ainsley Maitland-Niles that has deputized in that position for quite some time. Maybe Mikel Arteta sees his future in midfield, but the manager knows best.

We will keep monitoring the Cedric situation and hope that we can seal a deal for him before the window shuts tomorrow.

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