Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says he is enjoying himself at Arsenal. Certainty Gunners fans are enjoying his performances. So, when reports in national media outlets emerge saying that the ace striker is contemplating his future ahead of contract talks, we’re not buying it. One suggestion is that the marksman is waiting to see if Mikel Arteta’s men manage to gain a place in the Champions League next season before he commits his future to pen a new deal at the Emirates Stadium.
This is pure conjecture. Yes, of course a spot in the Champions League would be nice for Arsenal and Aubameyang. But it would be surely short-sighted to base a decision affecting the remainder of your career, arguably, on this one point. This is especially the case when you are clearly revelling in the role as skipper and leading scorer at the club.
Ex-Borussia Dortmund attacker Aubameyang has plundered 49 strikes in 74 Premier League outings and after his two-goal salvo in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Everton at home he now sits alongside Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy with 17 goals as the league’s joint-top scorer.
Aubameyang, made captain of the club under Mikel Arteta (a skipper’s armband was the last thing you would expect him to wear under the former regime because he looked uneasy playing for former head coach Unai Emery), seems to be getting better. So much so, in fact, that his double against the Toffees prompted former Manchester United defender Gary Neville, now a pundit and analyst with Sky Sports, to remind the nation’s football fans that we have a super player in our midst and that he thinks he is massively underrated. He should be cherished, argues Neville. Here, here.
Certainly, his goals have helped Arsenal get their season back on track as they look to climb the top-flight table. His first goal against Carlo Ancelotti’s resurgent men was ever so reminiscent of Thierry Henry in his prime. That is some accolade, right? But worthy. If you watch the goal again you’ll see Aubameyang playing on the shoulders of the Blues’ defence and poised to latch on to the perceptive pass from Gunners defender David Luiz. His devastating pace utterly destroys any rear-guard attempt to thwart his progress and once he has collected the ball you can see that he has one thing on his mind. Then, as he executes the shot, from right to left, curling it in to the back of the net past a despairing Jordan Pickford, you see all the hallmarks of Henry.
If he can continue to replicate this scintillating form and goal prowess — not forgetting his influence on his team-mates in his role as captain — it bodes well for Arsenal. Champions League or not.