A quintet of European heavyweights are eyeing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after a shock report stated even he could be moved out in the coming windows.
The Gabon superstar, 32, has endured a noticeable dip in output since his last contract was signed in 2020. Startling misses have crept into Aubameyang’s game, though he seemingly retains the full support of Mikel Arteta.
Indeed, Aubameyang has been the Spaniard’s preferred choice up top this season, ensuring Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah have been made to feed off scraps.
Lacazette and Nketiah are both out of contract next summer, so their relative lack of gametime isn’t a surprise. However, at present, it doesn’t appear either of the pair will pen fresh terms.
Sky Sports reported Nketiah has rejected his latest renewal offer at the start of December.
Nketiah’s contract situation means he can speak to foreign clubs in January and sign a pre-contract agreement. A free-transfer move to another English club would have to wait until the summer. Though Arsenal would get around £8m in compensation if he does leave for another English club.
Caught Offside recently carried a report that claimed Lacazette will also depart after reaching a ‘verbal agreement’ to join Barcelona next summer.
Aubameyang first domino to fall?
Now, SportsMole (citing Spanish outlet Fíchájés), claim Aubameyang could depart even quicker than his fellow forwards.
They state the striker is on the radar of five European powerhouses ahead of a proposed January switch. Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan and AC Milan are all listed.
Aubameyang’s days at Arsenal are deemed ‘numbered’. What’s more, they claim selling now will give Arsenal genuine hope of recouping a ‘sizeable fee’. At 32, waiting any longer could severely diminish his remaining market value.
If the report is accurate and Arsenal are exploring a January sale, several new recruits could be on the agenda.
Today’s Euro Paper Talk revealed the Gunners were plotting a raid for PSG’s Mauro Icardi in January. Additionally, Arsenal are known to be admirers of Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic.
Balogun decision will see another striker go
Meanwhile, Arsenal have reluctantly decided to let Folarin Balogun leave the club on loan in January – but any side he joins will not be offered the chance to make the deal permanent.
Balogun was facing an uncertain future at Arsenal approaching last summer, but he committed to the club for the long term. However, he is having to be patient for a genuine breakthrough at senior level.
Balogun himself has been pushing Mikel Arteta to offer him more game time. And if that’s not the case, he’s made it clear that he wants to be allowed to leave on loan instead.
Now, according to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, the Gunners have decided to let Balogun depart. Despite ongoing doubts on the future of Lacazette and Nketiah, they will let the England U21 hitman leave in a short-term deal.
The Gunners have no desire to give his suitors the option to make the move permanent. Instead, it will be stipulated that Balogun will return to Emirates Stadium at the end of the arrangement.
The 20-year-old will now discuss with his agent as well as Arsenal’s management which club to sign for.
Indeed, Football.London reports that three Championship sides are in the mix to acquire Balogun’s services. They report that Middlesbrough, Swansea and Millwall are the trio in contention.