Two Saudi clubs, Al Hilal and Al-Nassr, have reportedly made loan offers for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Both offers are thought to include covering all of Aubameyang’s £350,00-per-week wages and contain at least an option to buy at the end of the season for somewhere in the neighborhood of £8M.
Whether Aubameyang is willing to move to Saudi Arabia to play is another question, however. There have also been rumored links to clubs in Europe (PSG and Barcalona among them), but nothing as concrete as the offers from Al Hilal and Al-Nassr.
Aubameyang hasn’t played for Arsenal since December 6th against Everton. Since that game, he has been stripped of the captaincy for a “disciplinary breach” related to the timing of a trip to France to pick up his mother. In truth, it was likely a straw that broke the camel’s back situation — Aubameyang had run afoul of the team rules several times. Mikel Arteta has been tight-lipped about the length of time Aubameyang will be away from the first team squad, and there has been no indication that the suspension will end soon.
Arsenal let Aubameyang leave the club early to join Gabon to prepare for AFCON. Unfortunately, he (along with teammate Mario Lemina) both tested positive for COVID after being pictured at a restaurant / club in Dubai en route to Cameroon for the tournament. Return-to-play medical exams of both revealed “cardiac issues” that saw them sent back to their clubs for further evaluation and treatment. Aubameyang saw specialists in London and announced on Instagram that he was now totally healthy.
It doesn’t feel like there is a way back for Aubameyang at Arsenal, which is unfortunate for a variety of reasons. For one, he’s a fun player to watch, especially when he’s enjoying himself and playing well. His smile is infectious.
On the footballing side of things, there is a decent chance that the Gunners aren’t able to bring in a striker before the close of the January transfer window. While Aubameyang isn’t the player he once was, I think he could still be a useful piece for Arsenal. At the very least, he offers something different from Alexandre Lacazette that, depending on opponent and match situation, could be a better choice.
But if the bridges between Mikel Arteta and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are irreparably burned, it’s probably best for all parties to move on as quickly as possible. Arsenal could do much worse than clearing his massive wages off the books and securing a small fee for him in the summer. It’s a shame that his time in North London is ending like this.