Horror show for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as Barcelona new boy faces undignified Xavi axe
Barcelona are facing an immediate headache following the deadline day signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ahead of the resumption of their European campaign.
Aubameyang joined Barcelona on deadline day in a surprise permanent move. A loan switch had been touted, though the two clubs could not reach an agreement over how to split his colossal salary.
With the loan route ruled out, Arsenal sanctioned a whopping £25m saving on the remainder of Aubameyang’s contract when allowing the hitman to move for free. To help grease the deal’s wheels, Aubameyang reportedly took a significant pay-cut.
His signing in these troubled times for Barcelona is something of a marquee transfer. Indeed, the Barcelona of the present day are far removed from the side that featured Lionel Messi and Co in their pomp.
That said, the rebuilding work must begin somewhere. And for all their well-documented financial troubles, Barca enjoyed a very impressive January.
Indeed, as well as Aubameyang, Barcelona also brought in Ferran Torres, Dani Alves and Adama Traore to strengthen their group.
Speaking on Tuesday, Barcelona president Joan Laporta says Aubameyang will be presented to supporters on Wednesday alongside Adama Traore.
“I like to give good news rather than bad news. Some good news is the end to our winter transfer market,” said Laporta, via Metro.
“We will present Adama Traore tomorrow and, if everything continues well, we will also present Aubameyang.”
Aubameyang dilemma for Barcelona
Barca’s first aim will be to secure Champions League qualification. As things stand, Xavi’s side currently sit fifth, a point adrift of reigning champions Atletico Madrid in fourth.
Xavi will also have his eyes on Europa League progress, with an exciting tie against Napoli next on the horizon.
Aubameyang will take pay cut to go to Barcelona
Aubameyang is ready to take a pay cut to move to Barcelona as striker wants out of Arsenal
However, under UEFA rules, Barcelona can only register three new signings for the next phase of the competition.
That means one of their new arrivals will be forced to miss out. And with LaLiga taking priority, it may well see Xavi taking the calculated risk of leaving Aubameyang out of his plans for Europe.
The striker would surely push to be included, but with Dani Alves a shoo-in, one of Torres, Traore or Aubameyang face missing out.
Pundits torn on striker’s exit
Meanwhile, two pundits were at loggerheads over Arsenal’s decision to let Aubameyang leave on a free.
Reviewing the decision to release him, Shay Given told Sky Sports that his exit has left him shocked.
Given said: “We talked about the fee. It was £56m that they paid for him, Aubameyang, and they let him go on a free. In any business, in any other world, it’s madness.”
However, his fellow pundit Clinton Morrison insists the Gunners made the correct choice.
He also insists there was no way back for Aubameyang while Arteta was still in charge.
“It’s the right decision,” Morrison said. “Arteta had to make his stand and it was the point of no return. Ideally you get a fee for him, but time was against them. Look at the money they are saving on his contract, what is it (?), like £25m.
“They could not afford to have the player sitting doing nothing earning all that money. Arsenal have been there before with Mesut Ozil. It was the only choice they could make.”
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