In another big deadline day move, Arsenal FC parted ways with club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Gunners chose to terminate his contract and in the process freed up cash while backing gaffer Mikel Arteta.
The Gabon international joins Spanish giants FC Barcelona on a 3-year deal till 2025. However, the forward’s move to Spain follows a pattern seen earlier at the Emirates before too.
Initially, it was Mesut Ozil whose deal was terminated in early January (2021) and he joined Fenerbahce. Following Ozil’s move, Willian returned to his boyhood side Corinthians after a mutual settlement. Presently, Aubameyang becomes the latest addition to that list. As the window neared its end, the transaction took place in the last few moments.
By no means these are small deals. Granted each case might be slightly different but each player was an important part of the Gunners line-up. Ozil, Willian, and now Aubameyang are known names with massive salaries.
Nonetheless, Arsenal felt that they were past their best and it was time for a change. In the end, the trio had either performed underwhelmingly or never made an appearance due to friction with the coach. They no longer needed to stay at the club.
All these changes come at a time when Arsenal have begun to feel comfortable with Arteta. After a long time, it feels like there is momentum going forward.
Coming to the latest results, Arteta’s men did stutter a little and were disappointed with the cup exits. But they are just 2 points off the top 4 and could still secure a Champions League berth. That seems to be the main focus anyway.
It was pointless for Aubameyang to stay till his deal ran out next summer. The striker has not made an appearance in Red since returning late from France back in December. Arteta chose to take back the captain’s armband from him after the incident.
Discounting the Africa Cup of Nations and the ‘heart lesions’ scare post-testing Covid positive, the Gabonese has enjoyed a lot of freedom. At this point, it is very unlikely he could rejoin the Gunners squad now.
It is true that Arsenal now might have to worry about a weaker forward line and it may return to pinch them. But if Auba was not going to make the team, what was the point of him sticking around?
Arsenal to profit from Aubameyang move
The release comes with a financial benefit as well. Arsenal readily allowed Aubameyang to depart on a free as they save close to £20,000,000 given his £350,000-a-week salary. As reported by The Times, the Gunners were willing to pay him around £7,000,000 for the release. Even then, such a transaction would prove profitable for them. Moreover, according to David Ornstein Arsenal are still contributing to former captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s salary until the summer.
This whole scenario points out that Arteta now has the full backing of the club’s hierarchy. He has received a vote of confidence and will be allotted more funds to acquire a new forward next summer.
In the current age, clubs run down their players’ contracts to prevent them from joining a rival. A glaring example would be Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard. Hence, Arsenal’s contract termination policy looks to be quite sensible.
With the club lighter now, they only need to see out the season in a favorable spot in the league table.
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