Was Signing Aubameyang Worth It?

Aubameyang
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 29: of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on April 29, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal had a significant January transfer window, with the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang headlining their business.

Arsenal was in the news nearly every day in the January transfer window due to their proactive spending and movement. Their biggest deal came in the form of the prolific Gabonese striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Gunners broke their transfer record to bring him in, and it was greeted mostly by jubilation from Arsenal fans.

When the rumours first started up about a potential Aubameyang signing, many deemed them to be false. Arsenal had dished out a record transfer fee just six months earlier for Alexandre Lacazette. Since they both operate in the same position, many deemed the signing of Aubameyang to be redundant, and they might have a point.

If you ask Arsenal fans about the issues regarding their team, most of them would point out the defence and goalkeeper as the primary issues. They don’t have a big problem when it comes to scoring goals, or creating them. Preventing them has been the main source of Arsenal’s failure. Most of their next few transfers will likely focus on defence. But, as we’ve seen with recent deals for Van Dijk and Laporte, this won’t come cheap.

This raises some confusion as to Arsenal’s January spending. The club quite clearly doesn’t have the resources to spend like Manchester City or United. Therefore, the new manager will likely have to work with a pretty limited budget. So why was £60 million dished out to strengthen an already strong position, instead of using that money to reinforce the backline?

The only answer is desperation. Yes, we know that all great title-winning teams normally have two strikers. However, this was mostly in the days where playing two strikers up-top was the norm. Now, most of the top teams operate with just one striker.

Despite his price-tag, Aubameyang is quite a limited player and is nearly 30.

It’s quite clear that Lacazette has much more to his game than Aubameyang does, and is much more involved in build-up play. This has been evident in Arsenal’s big matchups. Aubameyang had basically no effect on the matches against Manchester City, Tottenham and Manchester United in recent months. Compare this with Lacazette, who has been arguably Arsenal’s best player against other top six opposition this season. The new manager will have to find a way to keep both happy in a central role in the coming seasons.

The signing of Aubameyang couldn’t have been for this season, as he is ineligible for Europa League, which was always Arsenal’s main focus. Even in January, their Premier League aspirations were fading quickly. Yet, even if Aubameyang’s signing was done with next season in mind, he will be 29 by the time the 2018-19 season starts. With pace being his main asset, he doesn’t have many years left as a top striker.

It seems that Arsenal’s decision to bring in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January was quite rushed. They dished out a club-record fee for him, but because of his age and style of play, he doesn’t have much resale value. The Gunners will have to get the best out of him and find a way to fit him and Lacazette into the same XI, in order to get their money’s worth.

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