Barcelona are reported to be getting increasingly confident of a deal to sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – with a deal as soon as January said to be on the cards.
The prolific Gabon frontman has recently been installed as the new Gunners captain after Granit Xhaka was stripped of the honour – but he’s already had to deal with some controversies after Aubameyang hit out as the ‘bull****’ stories around his appointment.
However, the curse of the Arsenal captaincy could be about to strike again – before Xhaka, Laurent Kosciely left in controversial circumstances – if the latest reports in Spain are to be believed.
According to El Desmarque, Barca are hoping to take advantage of the controversy that has surrounded Aubaymeyang’s appointment, and amid shock claims that the striker could be removed as captain over his friendship with controversial YouTube channel AFTV.
The 30-year-old is understood to be an ally of the outspoken channel and has liked various controversial Instagram posts from AFTV, including one calling for Unai Emery to be sacked.
The report also claims Aubameyang has even invited one of AFTV contributor Troopz into his Emirates box for games, which has resulted with complaints from within the club.
As per the report, Barcelona are said to be aware of the situation and will look to offer the striker a fresh start at the Nou Camp in light of these claims.
Furthermore – and perhaps more tellingly – El Desmarque claims Aubameyang is unwilling to sign an extension to his Arsenal contract, with his present deal due to expire in 18 months time. Reports last week said the former Borussia Dortmund man was unwilling to commit to Arsenal right now given their struggles in the league and will wait to see where they’re at come the summer before coming to a decision.
However, the Spanish newspaper believes that unwillingness to sign could force Arsenal’s hand with the club eager to avoid similar situations in the past when star men such as Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey have allowed their deals to run down and either left on cut-price deals or walked away as free agents.
As such, it’s claimed Arsenal now his value will soon begin to dwindle, especially as he’s due to turn 31 in June, and could look to cash in during January in a bid to achieve their full market value of around €80m (£68.4m).
Barca are looking to replace another ageing frontman Luis Suarez at the end of the season and reports this week claimed the former Liverpool man had already identified his next club as a result.
Matteo Guendouzi, meanwhile, has revealed an unusual secret behind his excellent form for the Gunners this season, as Thierry Henry also joined those praising the recently called-up France midfielder.