Ozil first, Aubameyang next? Arsenal’s Bumper contract conundrum.
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: Arsenal substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang before the UEFA Europa League Quarter Final First Leg match between Arsenal FC and Slavia Praha at Emirates Stadium on April 08, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around Europe remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has led his side in the past two seasons as captain, taking over from Granit Xhaka in November of 2019.

Auba’s outstanding moments include star performances in north London derbies, a hattrick vs Valencia in the Europa league semi-final and, leading his side to FA cup triumph in 2020 where the striker scored four goals in two games to secure the Gunners their third FA cup in six years. 

Newfound Criticism

Aubameyang has come under a lot of criticism this season due to his lack lustre performances and the striker not looking his normal sharp self.

14 goals in 32 appearances through all competitions simply haven’t been near Auba’s high standards that he sets himself and that Arsenal fans have come to expect. 

Former Arsenal star from the Gunner’s Highbury days Paul Merson has come out and heavily criticised the Arsenal talisman claiming that the north London club could have made a mistake resigning the Gabonese striker on such large wages and comparing this situation to what happened with former Arsenal star Mesut Ozil.

Big money Contract

Aubameyang put pen to paper and signed a lucrative three year extension with Arsenal in the summer of 2020 to end a lot of speculation and assert his future in north London.

This also made him the highest earner at the club. Since signing the deal, Auba hasn’t hit the heights of previous seasons and in more recent games has been forced out of the side by the inform Alex Lacazette

Paul Merson commented on the situation stating:

“They give Pierre Emerick Aubameyang all of that money, a big contract, but he is 31 years of age so we are back with the Mesut Ozil situation again.” 

Merson here is talking about the concept of having an older player who is under performing and on high wages.

This was the situation that Arsenal recently escaped with the sale of Mesut Ozil to Turkish side Fenerbahçe. 

Replacing Aubameyang?

If Aubameyang continues to underperform, then Edu Gaspar and the Arsenal board may have to look into if they can sell the player to release his wages off the astronomical wage bill that Arsenal possess.

Arsenal fans will hope that with the return of fans to stadiums looking soon, that the 31 year old Gabonese striker will be able to rediscover his fine form and fire the Gunners back into the top four places next season.