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A wishlist for the 2020/21 season

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 07: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal embraces his coaching staff following his sides victory in the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and West Ham United at Emirates Stadium on March 07, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Looking to forward to the next season, this wishlist includes items that Arsenal need to focus on to have a successful 2020-21 season

Arsenal’s 2019-20 season has been a weird one. It started decently enough. A couple of wins against Newcastle (on the road, along with a clean sheet to boot) and Burnley. But it would soon descend into scrappy, scratchy performances, the team finding themselves in tenth place in the Premier League and Unai Emery fired. Freddie Ljungberg arrived as the interim manager, though he had very little time to do much. Then Mikel Arteta stepped in as the new boss and things have been looking positive ever since. The only blip — a major one at that — was the Europa League defeat Olympiakos.

With no concrete view into how this season will pan out, here is a wishlist for the coming year.

Arsenal, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 16: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal celebrates after he scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on February 16, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Extend Aubameyang’s contract

One of the major reasons why Arsenal have remained in the hunt for a four-four finish this season has been Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Since joining Arsenal during the January 2018 transfer window, Aubameyang has scored 61 times in 97 appearances across all competitions. In the Premier League, he has been particularly lethal, netting 49 times in 75 appearances. Since his arrival, only Mohamed Salah has scored more.

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These numbers have gone a long way to ensure that Arsenal didn’t completely lose grip of their campaign. What makes his contract extension even more important is that buying a striker of his calibre is going to cost. It is the kind of money that Arsenal may not have considering they do need to make reinforcements elsewhere.

Now, Arsenal handled the Mesut Ozil contract situation so badly that they have essentially been burdened with a player earning £350,000 per week and not performing even remotely close to that price tag. It would be understandable that Aubameyang may want similar numbers, considering his output has been decidedly ferocious, and there is reason to doubt whether any player is worth investing such a lopsided amount.

Other valid arguments include that he is a player on the wrong side of 30, a player whose market value would decrease rapidly etc. And yet, even while accepting the pertinence of these arguments, Aubameyang’s performance on the pitch, his presence in the dressing room and his growing stature as the team’s captain are all essential for the Arsenal Rebuild and worth the subsequent sacrifice.

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