Newcastle have given Arsenal something to think about after reportedly lining up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January, and the striker’s transfer preference has been revealed.
The 32-year-old has not played for Arsenal since being stripped of the captaincy in mid-December. The exile has been at the behest of manager Mikel Arteta who has repeatedly insisted Aubameyang is simply not up for selection at present.
The Telegraph stated Aubameyang’s exclusion from the first-team could last until early-February – assuming he is not sold next month first.
However, the Daily Star suggest a January sale is a distinct possibility. In their words, Arsenal are ‘keen to offload the striker’.
His high wages present an obvious hurdle for any club seeking to sign the veteran forward. Nonetheless, four potential suitors are named in their report, including Newcastle.
The cash-rich Magpies will look to spend their way out of trouble when the winter window opens in under a week.
Adding Aubameyang to their ranks could prove a smart piece of business with the Gabon superstar clearly having a point to prove.
Wilson injury could spur Aubameyang chase
Furthermore, if Callum Wilson is sidelined for any length of time after picking up an injury versus Manchester United, Newcastle would be desperately short of goals up top.
Lyon, Juventus and Barcelona are also stated to be in the mix to sign Aubameyang. And according to the report, it is Barcelona who are Aubameyang’s preferred choice if he does leave north London.
Aubameyang has been linked with Barcelona
Arsenal's Aubameyang has been linked with a loan move to Barcelona.
Xavi’s side have been persistently linked with Edinson Cavani in recent weeks. However, his crucial cameo against Newcastle once again showed his value to Manchester United.
Aubameyang could be more readily available, though they will seemingly have to fend off the financial might of Newcastle.
Whether Arteta will sanction a sale or wish to keep Aubameyang around remains to be seen. Both Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette are out of contract next season. Losing Aubameyang too would decimate his options in the final third.
Lacazette gives Arsenal agonising decision
Meanwhile, Arsenal must run the gauntlet and make a decision that has backfired twice if they are to keep Alexandre Lacazette beyond the summer, per a report.
Since Arteta exiled Aubameyang from his squad, Lacazette has looked a man on a mission. The Frenchman has bagged two goals and three assists in the four matches since Aubameyang was stripped of the captaincy. In two of those contests, Lacazette has worn the armband.
However, Lacazette is in the final year of his contract, a situation that puts Arsenal in a perilous position.
The Mirror (citing L’Equipe) suggest Arteta wishes to keep Lacazette around beyond the summer. They state Arsenal recently offered Lacazette a contract extension, but the 30-year-old turned it down.
His reasoning reportedly stems from his desire to secure a longer-term deal. Arsenal’s offer was for a mere 12-month extension.
That presents Arsenal with a difficult decision to make. Handing bumper long-term deals to Mesut Ozil and Aubameyang both backfired. Both were in the autumn of their careers when the extensions were signed and Arsenal quickly came to regret their decisions.
Given Lacazette’s demands, it appears the only way to retain his services would be to offer a multi-year deal.