Arsenal might be forced to sell top-scorer, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, this summer. But how much would he actually fetch in the transfer market?
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is one of the best goalscorers in world football. He has been throughout his career. Arsenal are extremely fortunate to have signed a player of his quality and kept him despite not being in the Champions League.
But this summer, Aubameyang’s Gunners’ future will reach an impasse. He is the current club captain, was the Premier League co-Golden Boot winner last season and is only two goals off the pace this year. Mikel Arteta has heralded his ability and influence, while his relationship with supporters is admirable.
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And yet, despite all these positives, Aubameyang will turn 31 at the end of the season and has stalled over negotiations regarding a contract extension, likely waiting to see whether Arsenal can sneak into the Champions League, which looks unlikely at this stage — they are already out of the Europa League and are five points off the pace in the Premier League, the last of five teams competing for just two spots.
Consequently, the club might be forced into selling Aubameyang. If the Gabonese centre-forward rejects any contract offers and says that he will leave the club for nothing in a year, Arsenal must sell, attempting to recoup whatever value they can to then reinvest in a younger replacement, perhaps someone who offers more offensive balance alongside Alexandre Lacazette.
All this raises a very important but difficult question: Just how much would Aubameyang fetch in the modern market?
If Aubameyang was 26 with a long-term contract, Arsenal could demand north of £100 million. With a bidding war and some desperate buyers, they might even get close to Philippe Coutinho’s Premier League record sale of £142 million. But he isn’t. He will be 31 in the summer and has just one year on his deal, and potential suitors are very much aware of that.
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It is difficult to sell 30-plus-year-olds for significant fees. Cristiano Ronaldo was 33 years of age when he left Real Madrid and cost Juventus almost £100 million two years ago. But Ronaldo is the second-best player in the world. Aubameyang is a great goalscorer, but he is not even in the top ten players in the Premier League. Ronaldo also had three years to run on his contract at the time.
Moreover, clubs are increasingly aware of investing large sums in players that offer little resale value. Manchester United and Alexis Sanchez, Madrid and Eden Hazard, even Juventus and Ronaldo all now face the prospect of having ploughed substantial resources into players that they now must spend lavishly again to replace without gaining any funds from their sale. Selling Aubameyang for top dollar is not easy.
Ultimately, it is difficult to put a number on Aubameyang’s value. There are lots of factors, the most important of which is how many clubs actually want him, which, at present, is two, Madrid and Barcelona. Nevertheless, if Arsenal can recoup the £52 million and perhaps squeeze a little more out they spent to sign him, that feels like a fair price. Whatever happens, though, do not expect the big bucks of the major sales that have taken place in recent years.