Arsenal risk more contract chaos by waiting to open Aubameyang negotiations
Mikel Arteta's revelation that the club are yet to begin contract talks with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is likely to have set alarm bells ringing amongst fans.
The Gunners appear to once again be playing with fire when it comes to the future of one of their main assets and their delaying tactics will likely lead to months of tedious tabloid talk about whether he is planning to stay or go.
Ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Crystal Palace, head coach Arteta gave an update on Aubameyang’s contract talks and it wasn’t good news for those eager to see the club’s topscorer remain put.
“My intention is to keep Auba because I know that if we keep Auba with us, we are going to be stronger and closer to winning football matches,” said the Spaniard.
“But at the moment we are in the middle of the season and we have not discussed anything further on that.”
The 30-year-old striker recently entered the final 18 months of his existing agreement and despite his insistence that he is happy in north London and enjoys playing for Arsenal, the transfer rumours refuse to go away.
Reports in Spain claim Real Madrid are ready to offer a player-plus-cash offer worth in excess of £70million for the Gabon international, while Manchester United, Barcelona and Chelsea are also keeping a close eye on the situation.
This whole situation will feel awfully familiar to the Emirates Stadium faithful, who have seen their club waste too much time when it came to past contract negotiations, only to result in them being backed into a corner.
Arsenal had no choice but to accept a swap for Alexis Sanchez in 2017, exchanging him with Manchester United for Henrikh Mkhitaryan after the Chilean’s deal entered the final six months.
At the same time, the Gunners hierarchy smashed their wage structure to make Mesut Ozil the highest-paid player in the club’s history on £350,000-a -week in order to avoid losing him for nothing.
Two years on from those decisions and how have things worked out? Mkhitaryan is currently on loan at Roma having flopped, while Ozil has been largely ineffective, up until Arteta took charge.
Having not learnt their lesson, they also let Aaron Ramsey leave on a free transfer. The Wales international had wanted to stay but having seen what Ozil got, he demanded similar terms, only for the club to baulk and allow Juventus to pick him up for nothing.
In the aftermath of Ramsey’s exit, Arsenal’s managing director Vinai Venkatesham said that any player with less than two years left on his contract would be sold if they did not want to renew. This lead to the suggestion that the north London outfit would try to get something done with Aubameyang last summer, only for talks to fail to materialise.
Whispers coming out of Aubameyang’s camp are that he wants to be at a club challenging for honours and doesn’t want to be part of the rebuilding job Arteta is undertaking at the Emirates Stadium.
No one could blame the ex-Borussia Dortmund man if he did walk away having seen Arsenal fail to keep up their end of the bargain. He joined with a view of getting back in the Champions League and winning silverware, neither of which he has managed to accomplish.
Arsenal can not afford to lose a player of Aubameyang’s ability, who hit the 50-goal mark for the club in just his 78th appearance in November and finished last season as the Premier League’s joint Golden Boot winner. Unfortunately, the longer the club procrastinates, the more likely it is Aubameyang will be making the net bulge elsewhere in the near future.