What Re-Signing Aubameyang Could Mean For Arsenal
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang currently has 13 months remaining on an Arsenal deal that runs out at the end of the season. The Gabonese striker has made his worth to this Arsenal team very clear this season with a combination of his goals, and the work of goalkeeper Bernd Leno, ultimately being the only thing standing between Arsenal and a relegation scrap. Aubameyang has stalled on extending his stay in North London and some of Europe’s top clubs have begun to circle, eager to see how the situation plays out. Fighting off the interest of other clubs and tying down the club captain to a new deal could be a massive moment for Arsenal in the journey back to the top of England and here is why.
Changing the precedent
The departures of Alexis Sanchez, Cesc Fabregas and Robin Van Persie among others have set a dangerous precedent in the last decade for Arsenal. Arsenal simply haven’t been able to keep hold of their best players when they reach their prime and this has resulted in the build-up of an ideology that Arsenal isn’t a final destination for a player’s career peak. This has to change if Arsenal are to challenge for England’s biggest prize once more and return to the Champions League.
Aubameyang is one of the best strikers in the world and in his prime. If Arsenal manage to ward off interest from elsewhere and keep Aubameyang at the club for his best years, a step can be made towards changing the precedent. In order to do this, the club must show ambition. The lack of ambition has resulted in the loss of countless key players in the past and must be something that changes.
Belief in the project
When Mikel Arteta re-joined the club in December and took over from Unai Emery as Head Coach, he spoke of changing the culture and energy at the club. “We have to build a culture that has to sustain the rest”, the Spaniard explained, “If you don’t have the right culture, in the difficult moments, the tree is going to shake, so my job is to convince everybody that this is how we are going to live and if you are going to be part of this organisation it has to be in these terms and in this way.”
It’s clear that Mikel Arteta has a project on his hands, one that will not be completed quickly or easily. Something that would inspire such confidence and belief in the new Head Coaches plans, is the endorsement of a world-class player. For Aubameyang to give the best years of his career to a project currently without Champions League football would be an incredible testament to the regard of Arteta. Not only would this inspire the rest of the squad (not forgetting Aubameyang is their captain), but this is something that would revitalise the staff and give any new signing a glimpse into the Arsenal project that they may want to take part in.
Aubameyang received the armband in unforeseen circumstances, but has flourished as captain, excluding one moment of madness against Crystal Palace. The striker is often the man to work hardest in games, constantly pressing and getting back to help his full-back, truly leading from the front.
He constantly motivates his teammates to improve and better themselves. A perfect example came against Aston Villa this season when Aubameyang gave up his penalty to new signing Nicolas Pepe, who was yet to get his first goal for the club. Pepe slotted the penalty away and Arsenal came twice from behind to win the game, the winning goal arriving in the form of an Aubameyang free-kick.
Being such an experienced player, there is always the opportunity for Aubameyang to share his knowledge of the game with the younger attackers at the club too. Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka are just a few youngsters who have burst onto the scene this season and Aubameyang’s influence shouldn’t be underestimated.
Martinelli spoke about his first meeting with the club captain in an interview with Globo Esporte, “I arrived for lunch on the first day, I’m eating there, Aubameyang arrives and sits next to me, speaking Portuguese with me, ‘Tudo bem?’(‘all right?’), trying to communicate”, the Brazilian continued, “You see, the guy so good, humble. I was like ‘Man, Aubameyang, who I saw on TV, came to talk to me!”
Stay or go?
Whether Aubameyang will leave the club in the summer it something still very much up in the air, especially with the current world situation. What is clear is that Arsenal have a real chance to take a small step towards progress if they can convince their star to renew. On the pitch, off the pitch and in the mentality of this club, Aubameyang signing a new contract would be massive. From myself and the Arsenal fan base, we hope you stay Auba.