Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has been fearing a Barcelona pursuit of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ahead of the January transfer deadline. And if he’s able to keep the Gabon international then that’s the biggest win of the entire window.
Barcelona making a late play to sign Aubameyang from Arsenal can’t be ruled out. They need a striker – and like the Gabon international.
If they’ve got money for Everton’s Richarlison, then they’ve got money in the bank for the Gunners hitman.
He’s certainly an upgrade on Richarlison, with all due respect to the Everton forward. Aubameyang is a genuine superstar and it’s no surprise that Barcelona want to snap him up.
It’s a strange old time over in Catalonia, with mixed messages coming out of the club.
It’s been heavily reported that Barcelona can’t afford to sign anybody because of Financial Fair Play regulations. Having splurged so much in recent years, they need to balance the books.
But then they go and bid for Richarlison which will, undoubtedly, raise eyebrows over at Arsenal.
They’ve been bracing themselves for the La Liga giants to come calling, particularly with Aubameyang out of contract in 2021.
And, with Barcelona seemingly having money at their disposal, there’s a shot they may try and land the forward.
Aubameyang, publicly, have insisted he’s committed to the Arsenal cause.
But he’s reportedly interested in a move to Catalonia behind the scenes, appealed by the prospect of playing alongside the iconic Lionel Messi.
And Arsenal can’t afford for that to happen.
They’ve made big strides in a short amount of time under Arteta, showing they have the potential to make a late push for the top four.
And that, while unlikely, is possible due to the awful form of Manchester United and Chelsea.
Neither of those two sides really deserve to finish fourth. Especially when you look at their points tallies.
Chelsea are fourth as things stand with 40 points. Arsenal, who were fourth at this stage last season, had 47.
The team who was fifth at this stage last term was the Blues – also on 47 points.
United, who are in that position at present, have 34. That 13-point gap is particularly huge.
Arsenal are only FOUR points behind despite their nightmare campaign under Unai Emery and mixed, albeit positive, start to life under Arteta.
And it’s paramount they secure a return to the Champions League this season if they’re to evolve.
That, realistically, is only possible with Aubameyang.
He has 16 goals to his name this season and is their top scorer across all competitions as a result.
While Gabriel Martinelli has made significant strides in his maiden campaign at the Emirates, he’s not the talisman of this side.
Aubameyang is. He hasn’t even hit top gear this season and, when he does, he’ll be their best chance of a top four finish.
And that’s why, if they manage to keep him away from Barcelona, Arteta will have pulled off the biggest win of the entire transfer window.