Reports emerging from Sky Sports have confirmed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s arrival at Arsenal’s training grounds for his medical examination. The 29-year-old was seen wheeling his luggage into the Dortmund airport terminal last night.
The cards have been dealt and it looks like Arsene Wenger is collecting his winnings – but at what cost?
Three players (Francis Coquelin, Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez) have departed in the January transfer window and now two have arrived. Aubameyang’s arrival will see Olivier Giroud make his way to Stamford Bridge. So will Alexandre Lacazette replace him on the bench?
Aubameyang has added a completely different dimension to the number nine role during his time with the Bundesliga giants. Standing at 6 feet 2 inches tall, the Gabon international has a turn of pace, which is second to none. His goal scoring tally of 141 goals in 213 total appearances for Borussia Dortmund will give you a picture of what he is capable of.
A healthy rivalry with Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski has turned him into the lethal threat that he is today in front of the goal and that will come as a huge boost to the Gunners – a side whose leading goal scorer is Lacazette with just 9 goals this season.
Arsene Wenger has adopted his style of play to the three back formation this season and the team has looked less than impressive. The entire defensive structure takes out one midfielder from the starting XI and the creative role is heavily delegated to the final third. We have seen Henrikh Mkhitaryan play the wing role at Manchester United and fail. Mesut Ozil has found his rhythm on the right but is still better suited centrally.
Maybe it is an oversight from the fans at Emirates but not exactly untrue – Aubameyang is capable of playing in the wide areas but would not enjoy spending the majority of the game away from the penalty box. What Alexis Sanchez created on the left wing was an indisputable presence to initiate, formulate and execute an attack. The former Saint-Étienne forward does not replicate the exact talents of the Chilean and might just be another competitor for Alexandre Lacazette in the number nine role.
Now with just 13 games left in the league to play catch up with Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur for the top four spot, the fans at Emirates will expect Aubameyang to hit the ground running. The North London club put up a shambolic display last night against relegation escapees, Swansea City only to hinder their chances of qualifying for the Champions League next season.
If they fail to improve upon their 6th-place-last-season finish in the Premier League, Arsenal’s biggest priority should be the UEFA Europa League. Winning the trophy will allow them to make an illustrious return to the Champions League and will definitely play a factor in Mesut Ozil’s decision to sign an extension.