If the figure of £50million that Arsenal have reportedly slapped on striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is correct then there is a serious bit of misjudgement afoot.
That is the verdict from Gunners fans we have spoken to in a bid to try to gauge whether or not Arsenal should fight tooth and nail to keep hold of the goal-getter, or to succumb to pressure from suitors Barcelona.
Today’s media is reporting that the Gabon frontman remains on the radar of the Nou Camp hierarchy and that a fee of £50million would be suffice to extricate him from the Emirates Stadium.
The dilemma for Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta is does he cash in on the hotshot in the summer or face waiting until the player’s contract expires the following summer and let him leave on a free transfer? The noises coming out of the Aubameyang camp are that he would sign an extended new deal if his weekly wages were pushed up to around the £300,000 mark.
But although he is very much in his prime — and to prove it he has hit 17 Premier League goals so far this season — he is 31 on his next birthday. The poser is, does he have it in the legs to bang ‘em in at the highest level? In essence the question is simple: do the Gunners enjoy another season of Aubameyang’s exploits in the box or collect £50million?
By and large the Gooners we spoke to want Arsenal to cement a new contract for the marksman. But if the manager decides to sell him to Barcelona he must look for a bigger chunk of change than the fee being talked about.
Joshua Roberts, a season ticket holder from Southsea, Hants, said Aubameyang is a rare breed and one which should be nurtured by Arsenal rather than sold off just because of money. He said:
“Aubameyang is a Rolls Royce of a player and much like vintage cars, players with such pedigree are worth every penny. Extend his deal and pay him what he wants and we won’t regret it.”
Sue Wilkes, from London, agreed and said that Aubameyang must stay at the spearhead of the Gunners’ attack, meaning players such as Eddie Nketiah and Gabi Martinelli can learn from him and flourish. She added:
“It’s all about goals at the top level and without Auba we wouldn’t have so many. That is basic maths so it is simple: keep him. If he were to go you would expect a fee more like £80million than the £50million being talked about!”
And Rick Welling, from Birmingham, said that Aubameyang was worth the same money that playmaker Mesut Ozil commands. He said:
“If Ozil can earn that sort of dosh, then surely Auba can? He is worth it without a doubt.”