Arsenal must wake up and smell the coffee where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is concerned.
Because if they let him go at the end of this season they’ll be flagging up the fact they are no longer a destination club.
Remember in 2010, when Wayne Rooney was on the brink of a move from Manchester United to Manchester City.
We all thought he was going until, bang, United announced he’d signed a bumper new deal.
It was a big moment for United, for their psyche, their fans and their brand, because it told everyone associated with the club that, despite City’s bottomless pit of money, Old Trafford was still the place to be.
Arsenal must do everything they can to keep hold of Aubameyang
(Image: Arsenal FC via .)
That move came on the back of a 20-year period of domination as well because Sir Alex Ferguson and chief executive David Gill knew they needed to flex their financial muscles.
Arsenal haven’t been title contenders for years, let alone the dominant force in English football, so it’s every bit as important for them not to let Aubameyang go as Mikel Arteta looks to build a new team that is capable of mixing it at the top.
Seemingly, however, they are prepared to let Auba — arguably their most-liked player over the last couple of years, certainly their most effervescent and the one who feels he can do the business at the top level — go almost without a fight.
Rooney was close to leaving United in 2010 until he performed a U-turn
Which would be madness, of course, and they should be looking at the playbook United used to keep Rooney and doing everything in their powers to keep their star man.
I’ve been very critical of Arsenal over the last decade or so because they have allowed themselves to become the bridesmaid and never the bride.
They’re a big club, they have a great stadium and play fantastic football, but they no longer have the bottle to mix it with the really big boys.
Add in an ability to haemorrhage their best players and the message that would send out could be potentially disastrous.
If I was a player in my mid-20s now and had a pick of three or four clubs of Arsenal’s size, I wouldn’t go near them.
I’d be looking to see where the chatter was and I’d see it was all about Frank Lampard and Chelsea.
‘He wants to sign Kai Havertz, he wants to sign Ben Chilwell, he’s already got Timo Werner… I’m up on that, I want to get on that bandwagon’.
It’s completely at odds with Arsenal, who will almost be at a point where they have to bribe players to join them in the coming two or three years if they do let Aubameyang go.
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They’d have to do everything they said they wouldn’t for 15 years under Arsene Wenger, namely pay over the odds in transfer fees and massively over the odds in wages.
What Arsenal need to do now is paint Aubameyang as their future and if that means paying slightly over the odds to keep him then so be it.
At least then others would look and say, ‘Hmm, they have kept him, I’ll have a bit of that’.
It may be the most cost-effective move Arsenal have made for quite some time.
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