Arsenal wide man Nicolas Pepe has provided an intriguing update on the future of team-mate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The 32-year-old striker has been out of the Arsenal side since early December. Mikel Arteta took the captaincy from him due to a disciplinary breach, while also dropping him from the squad.
Aubameyang then went off to represent Gabon at the Africa Cup of Nations, only to contract coronavirus on the eve of the tournament.
Gabon then revealed he was suffering from ‘heart lesions’, prompting an early return to north London.
Aubameyang has clearly had a turbulent couple of months. While all this has been going on, rumours continue to swirl over a potential transfer.
According to CBS Sports, Saudi Arabian outfit Al Nassr are hoping to take him on loan for the rest of the season. They want to include an option to buy worth €8million (£6.6m) which will activate in the summer.
Sky Sports journalist Dharmesh Sheth, meanwhile, reveals a number of European clubs are aiming to secure Aubameyang’s signature. AC Milan, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Marseille and Sevilla are among them.
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The attacker’s contract expires in 2023, giving Arsenal just a couple of transfer windows to get his full value.
Nicolas Pepe, who is currently representing Ivory Coast at the AFCON, was recently asked about Aubameyang’s future by a fan on social media.
Nicolas Pepe response not exactly convincing
He gave the following reply (via Mirror), which is less than convincing: “I don’t know. I think he’ll stay, but I don’t know.”
Newcastle have previously been linked with Aubameyang amid Eddie Howe’s search for a new striker. He has already brought in Chris Wood from Burnley, although a second hitman could be signed.
But talkSPORT pundit Tony Cascarino reckons the Magpies should avoid Arsenal’s former skipper.
“Do you want a player who is going to show commitment, running, doing all the ugly stuff in the game that you’re going to need to survive? Does he do that very well? I’d say that’s the worst part of his game,” Cascarino said.
“Is he a quality footballer that can turn a game in a moment? At his best, yes. But when has he last done that regularly? Not very often this season, even towards the end of last season.
“I don’t see this deal being a good one for Newcastle at all.
“I think it will be more of an air of is Aubameyang doing Newcastle a favour and I probably think, no, he’s not going to be doing them a favour.”
Arsenal have reached their ‘ceiling’ – Robson
Meanwhile, former Arsenal player Stewart Robson doubts the Gunners can go much further with Arteta at the helm.
“I think this is their ceiling at the moment,” he told ESPN FC’s Extra Time. “I think in maybe a couple of years time when the likes of [Bukayo] Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and these sort of players, [Gabriel] Martinelli who’s had a good spell in the team, and some of the younger players come through, I think Arsenal will be a good side.
“But I just think it’s hit its ceiling at the moment.”
Arsenal travel to Wolves on February 10, following Sunday’s clash against Burnley.