Arsenal should keep hold of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang next season in order to improve their hopes of finishing in the Premier League top four, says Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher.
The Gabon international is an essential player for Arsenal, with 20 goals this season alone and 61 in all competitions since joining the Gunners in January 2018.
However, Aubameyang’s future at the Emirates Stadium is uncertain, given his contract expires next summer and no breakthrough has been made on a new deal.
If he doesn’t pen new terms before the upcoming transfer window, the Gunners will have to decide whether to cash in on him or let his contract run down.
Prior to the global health crisis, there was talk of Aubameyang being a highly sought after player with a hefty price tag – The Mirror speculated up to £70million back in February.
However, the football industry has been dealt such a financial blow that many clubs are expected to tighten their purse strings considerably.
The Sun has speculated that Arsenal would now be lucky to get £20million for the 30-year-old’s signature.
Carragher, speaking on The Football Show on Sky Sports, thinks that Arsenal should keep hold of Aubameyang for another season, make use of his services and try to convince him to sign a new deal.
“It’s interesting the Arsenal situation because towards the end of my career at Liverpool we were in this situation quite a lot where you are just missing out on the top four,” the former Liverpool defender said.
“Yes, it’s okay having rules in place and Arsenal saying: ‘We never let a player go on a Bosman ruling’. However, if you are Mikel Arteta, I would be looking at it and thinking, even if he goes for nothing next year, have we got more chance of getting in the Champions League for next season if Aubameyang stays, and that’s the decision they’ve got to make.
“It’s not easy to find goal scorers. I’d keep Aubameyang and see what you could do. Could you bring players in around that, hopefully have a successful season and maybe in the next 12 months convince him to stay? If not, I think it gives Arsenal a greater chance of getting back into the top four and that’s where they need to be.”
A player of Aubameyang’s calibre should not be getting to the last 12 months of his contract without a resolution, and with the football industry set for a huge financial blow in wake of the global health crisis, Arsenal’s hand is weakened even further – a gamble which has backfired massively.
Now the Gunners are between a rock and a hard place – they can either sell Aubameyang at what is likely to be a hugely reduced price in a market where most clubs won’t be looking to spend big money, they can hold out until January and sell him for an even lower fee, or they can keep him for one more season and lose him for nothing.
A reported £20million price tag for a player of his calibre – particularly when pre-crisis the rumour mill was talking about £70million fees – is barely worth considering, and in this case, Arsenal are better off with his 20 plus goals and leadership next season.