The reality of losing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is dawning on Arsenal, but playing hardball isn’t just an option in this situation—it’s a necessity.
Lately, the rumors tying Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to an Arsenal exit are increasing. Premier League rivals are swooping, though you have to imagine that the club has the good sense not to sell him down the road, but rather focus on striking a deal overseas.
It may be a frustrating moment for Gooners who have grown to love Aubameyang and the Golden Boots, but no matter what the club ends up doing, this whole “playing hardball” with the Gabonese superstar is by no means an act or a ploy. It’s a necessity.
Aubameyang is one of the best at what he does, but he’s getting older and he has a very specific use at the club. He scores goals and runs in straight lines. Those are his strengths. Mikel Arteta has inspired him to defend at times too, but all in all, he runs in straight lines and he scores goals.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s valuable. Boy howdy, is it. But with a manager like Arteta, who is determined to move the club forward with his vision of how best to make that work, tying himself down to Aubameyang for another handful of years might not be the best option.
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Though it’s also not the worst.
Which is why we have to take a hard line with all this. It was just a few years ago that Arsene Wenger tied Mesut Ozil down to a massive contract that has become the worst thing Wenger could have left behind. That contract has plagued both Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta and we are coming upon another transfer window where a primary objective is just ending that contract.
Even if we have to pay half of it to get rid of him.
It sounds awful, but it’s true. That kind of wage commitment is crippling, and getting into a similar situation with Aubameyang shouldn’t the at the top of anyone’s list. Not when so many changes are required at the club and money may prove itself sparse yet again.
Even if Aubameyang ends up being nothing like Ozil, and continues to thump home goals, the risk of suffocating the club under another wage package like they’re hopefully getting out of this summer is not an attractive option. And that’s why it pays to be sensible.