Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s last Arsenal appearance came on December 6, and he was stripped of the captaincy later that month after a disciplinary issue
Monday 31 January 2022 19:57, UK
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Barcelona have agreed a deal with Arsenal to sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Aubameyang flew to Barcelona to visit family and did not have meetings with club officials.
Discussions between the clubs had centred around the percentage of Aubameyang’s wages Barcelona would pay.
Aubameyang had made “financial sacrifices” to try and get the deal done but time is running out for Barcelona to come up with the money Arsenal want.
He is expected to return to London and Sky Sports News has been told there is an element of surprise in some quarters that Aubameyang had headed to Barcelona before a deal had been agreed.
But Barcelona president Joan Laporta has been quoted by Mundo Deportivo in Spain as saying: “We would like to incorporate Aubameyang. It is very complicated but there is hope.”
Speaking on transfers generally, Laporta added: “We are working and will continue to work on all the issues until last moment.”
Juventus also wanted to sign Aubameyang but their move was dependent on Atletico Madrid agreeing to cut Alvaro Morata’s loan spell short. As it stands, Morata will stay at Juventus.
Arsenal are willing to allow Aubameyang to leave after stripping him of the captaincy in December following a disciplinary issue.
The 32-year-old has not played for the club since December 6, and was left out of their squad for their warm-weather training camp in Dubai this week.
Sky Sports News reported earlier in the window that the 32-year-old would prefer a move to a top European club if a deal could be agreed.
Marseille, Sevilla, Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan all expressed an interest, while Saudi Arabian clubs Al Nassr and Al Hilal made loan offers with obligations to buy.
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Sky Sports’ Adam Bate:
The drop in performance levels has been so great that it is probably worth reminding people that Aubameyang was a world-class striker for much of his time at Arsenal.
Indeed, from the day of his debut for the club in February 2018 until the day of his double against Everton in February 2020, no player scored more Premier League goals. He scored 49 times in that period, the same as Mohamed Salah and a dozen more than Harry Kane.
There was a notable highlight after that when he scored twice in Arsenal’s FA Cup final win over Chelsea in the summer of 2020. But almost as soon as his new contract was signed that September, there has been a sense of decline, of a player whose best days are behind him.
Stripped of the captaincy, too often the leadership has had to come from elsewhere. It is the young players driving Arsenal on under Mikel Arteta, not their best-paid player. That is a situation the club knows well having been through similar with Mesut Ozil. It cannot last.
At 32, there will be hope that Aubameyang could yet recapture his best form, inspired by new surroundings and the challenge of restoring Barcelona to their former glories. At Arsenal, any regret will be tempered by the feeling that it is time for the club to move on.
Sky Sports News’ Dharmesh Sheth:
“The deal is not done with Barcelona but there is an increasing confidence it can be done.
“It is a straight loan until the end of the season. Discussions are ongoing about how much of a percentage of his wages Barcelona will pay – we think he is on £350,000 a week.
“Arsenal will be looking for the majority of that payment to be made by Barcelona.
“These developments with Aubameyang explain why, as it stands, Eddie Nketiah remains at Arsenal. That is despite Crystal Palace making two bids during this transfer window.”
Paul Merson told Sky Sports:
“If Alexandre Lacazette puts the open goal chance away against Burnley, it is job done and no one is moaning at all.
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“Everyone would be talking about how good a result that would have been for Arsenal with a clean sheet too. It’s 1-0 to the Arsenal and everything is great. But he misses an open goal and all of a sudden, they have only scored one goal in January, which came in their best performance by a mile.
“That’s the problem Arsenal have. You are not going to win too much without a centre forward.
“I know people will say Manchester City do, but they still have to win the Champions League playing with a false nine. They also have superstars all over the pitch and are probably the only team in the world that could do that.
“So, Arsenal need a centre forward.”
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