Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s projected Arsenal move looks to be getting closer by the day. The player seems intent on getting out of Dortmund, with reports that he has already agreed personal terms with Arsenal; but is this a good move for Arsenal, with Auba’s disciplinary problems?
The Gabonese striker has been a revolution at Dortmund, since Klopp turned him from a tricky winger into a ruthless centre forward, but recent off the field issues have tarnished his reputation. Despite, or perhaps in spite of these problems, Aubameyang has still netted 21 goals in 23 games this season, meaning he has a better haul this season that Lacazette, Alexis, Morata, Jesus, Ronaldo and Suarez, even though he has twice been suspended by his club.
On the pitch, Aubameyang appears to have a great relationship with his teammates. Off it, he was said to be well liked, but reports have emerged of an ongoing issue with Marcel Smelzer. Andre Schurrle is the latest to speak out saying Auba is causing unrest in the squad ‘with the uncertainty over his future and added “it would be better for everyone if it happens quickly.”
While Aubamayang may be getting the blame for this move, it is worth noting that the Dortmund hierarchy aren’t helping. The move has been well documented. The player wants to leave, Arsenal want it done and now his teammates want it tied up, but the club are continually making statements about it being ‘hot air.’
They had a similar attitude in the summer when he was told he could leave, placing deadlines on other teams to complete a move, and ultimately blocking his way out. This led to resentment from the player, and a series of ill disciplined spats, the latest being not showing up for a team meeting.
While these problems have lingered off the pitch, Aubameyang has more that delivered on it. He works hard for his teammates, he creates chances and he scores goals. Dortmund have been as much of the issue as the player, and they could very well be left with egg on their face when their only genuine world class player leaves.
In Aubamayang, Arsenal are getting a greyhound. He’s lightening fast, his runs are perfectly timed, he’s great in the air and he is ruthless in front of goal. Lacazette’s form this season has dwindled, but with Aubameyang stretching defences, he will have more space to operate in, meaning he is more likely to find his goal scoring touch.
The imminent arrival of Mkhitaryan will also help Aubameyang to settle. They built an incredible partnership at Dortmund, and remain friends off the pitch, and it will make adjusting to life in England much easier.
When the pair played together, Mkhitaryan had no disciplinary issues. In fact, he was lauded for his professionalism. But, at this time, Dortmund had stability in the management. They are currently going through another transition, and it appears Auba is fed up with it, and has lost respect for his superiors.
At Arsenal, he would be reinvigorated with a new challenge, he would have a world class number ten behind him, and top players like Lacazette, Mkhitaryan, Ramsey and Mustafi around him. This change in environment would likely see his attitude change very quickly.
To sum up, signing Aubameyang is not a risk – it’s a no brainer. It’s a show of ambition for Arsenal, and a quick fix that could keep delivering for the next five years. Even if the player has the odd wobble, his goals will more than make up for any issues off the pitch!