Arsenal talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang appears to have one foot out of the Emirates doors after news emerged that the Gunners have ‘pulled the plug’ on his contract extension talks.
The Gabon international, 30, has been the one consistent shining light in what has been a frustrating couple of seasons for the Gunners.
His clinical finishing has often been the sole factor keeping Arsenal within touching distance of the European qualification spots, and he was even rewarded with the club’s captaincy earlier this season.
His contract in North London expires in the summer of 2021, however, and with no new contract thus far materialising, a host of Europe’s elite clubs began to monitor the situation.
Now, a report from British newspaper the Daily Express has sensationally revealed new hope for the lengthy list of suitors with the news that Arsenal have ‘pulled the plug’ on talks over fresh terms.
The article notes that their decision centres around their desire to recoup a fee for the striker ‘rather than lose him for nothing.’
Despite being 30 years old, Aubameyang remains as deadly in front of goal as ever and a figure around the £56m mark has been touted as necessary to secure his signature.
Barcelona, Chelsea, Real Madrid and a Robin van Persie-esque switch to Man Utd have all been speculated, but the Express reveal the frontrunners are Serie A powerhouse Inter Milan.
Antonio Conte’s side are expected to struggle to be able to hold on to their prized Argentine asset Lautaro Martinez, with Barcelona tipped as his next destination in a blockbuster new forward line.
His exit would pave the way for Aubameyang’s arrival by not only freeing up a spot in the starting eleven, but also by generating more than enough cash in order to meet Arsenal’s £56m valuation.
Former Chelsea boss Conte is described as being ‘keen’ to bring Aubameyang to the San Siro, while the player is reportedly ‘ready to listen to what he has got to say.’
Aubameyang’s £200,000 per week pay packet is one sticking point Inter must overcome, though the club are believed to be confident of hashing out an agreement for the man Conte ‘badly wants’ in his squad next season.
His exit would leave a goalscoring void at the spearhead of Arsenal’s attack, and one name speculated as a possible replacement is Real Madrid frontman Luka Jovic.
Jovic has struggled to get to grips with La Liga since his summer switch from Benfica, and pundit Rio Ferdinand isn’t convinced the Serbian the type of player the Gunners should pursue.
Speaking in an Instagram Q&A, the former England international said (via the Express): “[Jovic] is someone who could add something to Arsenal but I don’t think Arsenal need a player in that position.
“Arsenal need centre-halves. They need centre-halves who can defend and play as well.
“I played against Arsenal teams with the likes of Sol Campbell and Tony Adams. I don’t see that now. They have many good footballers but you need a blend.
“Why are they going for Jovic when they need to be looking at centre-halves?
“Arsenal is a fantastic club, what a club. But they need to get it right in other areas of the pitch.”