Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang wants to fulfil the contract he signed with Arsenal last summer despite the club being open to offers for him, according to a report.
Arsenal found themselves in a tricky situation last year, when Aubameyang delayed over signing a new deal. But they managed to convince him to stay in the end – on huge wages. They may be having some regrets about that decision now; his form on the pitch has not repaid them.
Aubameyang only scored 10 goals in the Premier League last season. It was his lowest scoring tally in a single season for 10 years. As such, Arsenal have been reflecting on their decision last summer.
The Gabon international’s sudden drop-off did have several factors behind it. He will be keen to prove it was just a blip. However, Arsenal’s confidence has decreased and a recent report said they were open to offers for him.
It then emerged that a Barcelona side looking to get creative in a difficult financial situation could try to sign him in a complicated swap deal.
But according to the Daily Express, Aubameyang has no intention of leaving Arsenal. Although he was very much considering his future last summer, he is committed to the cause now. The contract he signed last summer still has two years left to run, which he intends to see out.
Arsenal and Barcelona discussing sensational swap deal
Arsenal have identified the three Barcelona players, goalkeeper Neto, centre-back Clement Lenglet and attacking midfielder Phillipe Coutinho, in exchange for their strike pair Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.
The Gunners will thus be hoping he can recapture his best form in front of goal if they cannot convince him to find a new club. He did average 30 goals a season in his previous two full campaigns with the club, so such form would be welcome.
But he failed to score in pre-season and is currently working his way back to fitness after an illness. He will need to hit the ground running again when he returns.
Arsenal recruitment criticised
Aubameyang is one of a number of over-30 players that Arsenal have given a significant deal to in recent years.
While he has been a success on the whole – last season aside – many others have not. The struggles of the likes of Willian, who joined last summer, have led to further criticisms of the club’s direction in the Edu era.
Paul Merson told Sky Sports: “It’s worrying at Arsenal. You’re still thinking: ‘Where are they going?’
“Edu has come in, and the recruitment has been lazy, if I’m being honest. It’s been: ‘Oh, we’ll take Willian on a free… we’ll take David Luiz for cheap.’
“I remember years ago in football, managers were judged on signings. Sometimes I think [Mikel] Arteta is left behind, and I’m not sure how much of a say he has got in all of this.
“Why would you let Joe Willock go? I’m not saying he’s the answer, but he’s come through the club and is going for £25m. That sort of money isn’t going to change Arsenal.
“It’s not like a Harry Kane or Jack Grealish sale where you get £100m and can rebuild the team.
“But Arsenal are prepared to pay Willian big money. Where is the future in that? It’s quick fixes. Surely Willock is a future player and for the present, and can be involved in the plan.”