With the country gradually grinding to a halt, we haven’t had an awful lot to write about in the past few days – particularly when it comes to transfer speculation.
However, just as our keyboards were gathering dust, we suddenly have hot gossip to dissect – and it’s regarding the future of Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The 30-year-old has cut a forlorn figure at the Emirates Stadium at times, with the Gunners enduring another season of inconsistency and frustration.
But with Mikel Arteta now at the helm, things do appear to be heading in the right direction. The only blip on the new head coach’s copybook has been the disappointing Europa League exit to Olympiacos, a result that effectively rules Arsenal out of qualifying for next season’s Champions League, barring a miracle in the Premier League.
So what of Aubameyang and why is future being called into question? Well, it’s quite simple. The Gabon international is out of contract next summer, and as yet there has been little to no progress on an extension to his current deal.
Because of this, Arsenal are prepared to sell him in the summer as they want to prevent him leaving for free, avoiding a repeat of the Aaron Ramsey debacle from last year.
A source has confirmed to 90min that Chelsea are one of the teams who are interested in signing him, while Barcelona are also monitoring Aubameyang‘s situation. Liverpool – and Jurgen Klopp, who previously managed Aubameyang at Dortmund, in particular – are also admirers, but they appear to be focussing on RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner ahead of a potential summer move.
Sounds like he has enough options to choose from. But wait, there’s more. The Sun note that Manchester United are also interested in snaring Aubameyang away from the Emirates Stadium, and are lining up a £50m move to take him to the north west.
The report also touches on Barcelona’s interest, as well as naming Ligue 1 moneybags Paris Saint-Germain as potential suitors.
It’s United’s interest, though, that is the most startling of all, and brings back memories of Robin van Persie’s controversial switch to Old Trafford in 2012. The Dutchman was Arsenal’s star player at the time, but opted to join Sir Alex Ferguson in order to pursue his Premier League title dreams.
The move worked out perfectly, as Van Persie helped fire the Red Devils to the title the following campaign. Aubameyang will recognise that United are anything but the finished product right now, but the arrival of Bruno Fernandes – as well as United’s recent rival – perhaps indicates they are going in the right direction under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Arsenal won’t want to do a deal, but head of football Raul Sanllehi and technical director Edu may decide that cashing in on Aubameyang – who has 17 Premier League goals to his name this season, and 20 in all competitions – is the only sensible option.
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