According to Daily Mail, as cited by Football.London, Barcelona have now set their sights on Lautaro Martinez. They are ready to splash £100 million on the Inter Milan forward, meaning Arsenal could perhaps now rest easy. The Catalans were linked with a move for star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang earlier this week. Their move for Martinez, in that regard, should serve as a boost for the Gunners.
Why Aubameyang’s prolonged stay could be crucial for Arsenal
Aubameyang has become one of Premier League’s most lethal forwards since joining Arsenal in January 2018, in a €63 million move from Borussia Dortmund. He required very little time to get used to the rigours of English football, notably scoring ten goals in 13 matches in his debut season.
The following campaign, Aubameyang ended as the joint top-scorer in the league alongside Liverpool’s revered offensive duo of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, scoring 22 goals. He has maintained a similar form this season as well, finding the back of the net 14 times in just 22 matches.
Aubameyang’s goalscoring prowess, therefore, has been critical behind Arsenal’s attacking unit, which is undoubtedly one of the best in the league. This season, for example, the Gunners are dawdling in mid-table. But, their tally of 32 goals is more than any other club outside the top seven.
Should Arteta utilise him differently?
The main problem with Aubameyang is that coaches have found it difficult to assign him in his preferred central attacking position. Especially under current manager Mikel Arteta, the Gabonese international has featured in a wide attacking role, preferably on the left while Alexandre Lacazette has led the Arsenal attack.
The Frenchman hasn’t been as prolific in front of goal. But, he has impressed Arteta with his work-rate and commitment. And with that in mind, it might not be a good idea to strip Lacazette of his role as the central striker.
Besides, it’s fair to point out that Aubameyang has scored four goals in the five matches where he has been deployed as a left-winger, which, in fairness, is an incredible statistic. Therefore, Arteta should continue to employ the ex-Dortmund star in a wide role, with Lacazette operating as a number nine.
What’s next for Martinelli?
Aubameyang’s prolonged stay at the Emirates could certainly affect Gabriel Martinelli’s overall gametime. The youngster has emerged as a rising star this season, after joining from Ituano in the summer. He has already netted ten goals in 21 matches in all competitions this season. His performance against Chelsea, in particular, helped his side clinch a late point at Stamford Bridge in midweek.
Therefore, Arteta simply cannot afford to consider Martinelli as a bit-part player at the club. The best solution would be to replace him with Nicolas Pepe at right-wing or utilise him as a super-sub on the opposite flank. It would offer Arsenal much more tenacity going forward and as for the player, himself, the opportunity to prove himself at the highest level of football.
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