Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. One of the best strikers currently in the Premier League. He has 17 league goals so far this season and had 22 to his name the year before. He is undoubtedly the most important player in a team that would likely be in a far worse position without him. So why should Arsenal let him go this summer?
To be completely clear, we should only let him go to a club outside the Premier League. Seeing some of Arsenal’s best players leave Arsenal for Manchester United & Manchester City has been heartbreaking and often brings out the worst in our passionate fan base. Real Madrid, place your bids. Man United, hands off!
To see why we should cash in on Aubameyang, it’s important to look at similar periods we’ve been in, relating to our situation with Aubameyang now.
Only Aubameyang has scored over 10 goals for Arsenal this season, which is highly reminiscent of Robin Van Persie’s record for Arsenal in the 2011-12 season, where he had 30 league goals, and Theo Walcott had the second-most with 8. The season after, Van Persie left to join Man United, and 4 Arsenal players (Walcott, Giroud, Podolski & Cazorla) all scored over 10 goals the following year.
Another example of a season where Arsenal relied too heavily on one player was the 2006-07 season, which ended up being Thierry Henry’s last full season for Arsenal. Henry was on the sidelines with an injury for half of the season, and the top goalscorer was Robin Van Persie with just 11. To put things into context, the joint 2nd top goalscorers with 10 were Henry – who only started 16 games – and Gilberto Silva.
We have the potential to cope without Thierry. We will focus more on team play and sharing the responsibility. I also think there are some players who will take on more responsibility – like (Robin) Van Persie, like (Emmanuel) Adebayor, like (Theo) Walcott, like Eduardo, who has just joined us. There are certain players who raise their game when you have a departure like that.Arsene Wenger (July, 2007)
Arsenal mounted a strong title charge in 2007-08 and ended up 15 points better off than they did in 2006-07, with Emmanuel Adebayor scoring 24 league goals, a huge improvement on his 8 goals in the previous campaign.
There is a clear pattern – at least at Arsenal, when top strikers leave, the players left behind usually step up. With Lacazette, Pepe, Nketiah, Saka, Nelson, Martinelli and Ozil still playing in Arsenal colours, there’s no reason for anyone to think they cannot do the same thing next season.
Provided there is sufficient reinvestment into the weaker areas in the squad, losing Aubameyang may actually leave Arsenal in a stronger position to build on Arteta’s new project for the future.