Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has found a way out of the Arsenal hot seat with Barcelona. The Gabonese international has joined the Catalan club. One of the major moves of this January transfer window.
He arrived in the late Monday morning, without a welcoming committee or members of the Blaugrana club to greet him. Only a few well-informed journalists were waiting for him at the airport exit. And yet, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is going to join Barcelona. The former Gunners captain will finish the season with the Spanish club. After several twists and turns around a possible medical, and then a disagreement between the various parties over the payment of the Gabonese's salary, he will indeed be in Barcelona.
The English press, led by Sky Sports, is unanimous in its view that Arsenal and Barcelona have finally reached an agreement on what will ultimately be a transfer. The Spanish side were unable to pay Aubameyang's estimated €1.7m-a-month wages and had to convince the Gunners to release the former St Etienne man. It's a done deal, as the London club will also take advantage of the opportunity to save no less than €30m between now and June 2023, when the Panther's contract expires. The biggest salary in the squad.
A huge financial sacrifice to join Barça
It's an outcome that should suit everyone, even if Aubameyang will have made a significant financial effort to join Barcelona. The condition to finalize this transfer and especially allow him to relaunch. The 32-year-old Gabonese is coming off several complicated months in England, with the sidelining and loss of the captaincy being the main reasons. He has not had any more success with the national team, where his 2021 African Cup of Nations campaign was cut short after he was excluded from the group without having played a single match. All this against a backdrop of controversy around acts of indiscipline.
The Panther arrives in a club that seeks to rebuild. Given his status and the last few months of competition, this is a gamble for both sides. Barca are hoping to finally have their striker, while Aguero's early retirement has thrown the club's plans into disarray. Aubameyang, for his part, will try to show that he can have the stature of a mythical club, with which his name has often been associated in the past. And above all that he should not be buried too quickly.