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Ranking the four Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang outcomes

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 23: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal FC during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Everton FC at Emirates Stadium on February 23, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

Arsenal and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang face hugely uncertain futures. There are four distinct outcomes from their contract impasse. Here, I rank them in order of which benefits the club most.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will end the season as a 31-year-old club captain who wants to compete for titles and play in the Champions League but has a year remaining on his contract and one big move left in his career. His Arsenal future is in the balance. There are four likely ways that this will go: signing a new contract, leaving for free in a year, or selling, either for a cheap price or high price.

Here, I rank each of them in favour of which would be most beneficial for the club.

Arsenal, Mesut Ozil

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN – MAY 29: Mesut Ozil looks dejected as he is substituted off during the UEFA Europa League Final between Chelsea and Arsenal at Baku Olimpiya Stadionu on May 29, 2019 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

4. Signs a Mesut Ozil-like contract

We have seen what happens when an ageing star enters the final year of his contract and the club is forced to bow to his every wish. Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are very different characters, it should be said. There were rumours of Ozil’s laziness and greed before he signed his bumper £350,000-per-week deal. Aubameyang has been fully committed to Arsenal ever since he arrived.

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Nevertheless, even if he remains wholeheartedly applied, having a player who relies extensively on his speed and movement skills play on an extortionate deal well into his thirties would be hugely problematic for a club that is already shackled by a wage bill that they cannot afford.

Arsenal have not played a Champions League game since Ozil signed his new contract. They have struggled to contain the wage bill and failed to replenish the squad in key areas, forced to offer hopeful loans with options to buy just to kick the financial can down the road. Ozil’s deal expires next summer. The Gunners can finally have the freedom to invest in their squad, if they don’t sign Aubameyang to a crippling extension.

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