22 June 2015

Arsenal to bid £28.7m for Aubameyang...

If nothing else, Arsenal are finally being linked with a striker. No, it's not Cavani or Higuaín or Benzema, but it is a striker who has scored at the Emirates: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. According to the German newspaper Bild, we've made a bid of some £28.7m for the French striker/winger. With Borussia Dortmund in a tailspin, we might have pinned a few hopes to Marco Reus, but I doubt that many of us would turn up our noses at Aubameyang, who did after all lead the club in goals (16) and assists (6). To be fair, Reus was hot on his heels despite making far-fewer appearances. Reus, however, is valued in the much-loftier realm of £50m and is already being wooed by Real Madrid. Aubameyang might not sound quite as sexy, but he might just fit our needs (and budget) far-better...

Let's be clear on one thing before going much further: Bild, the source on this, is not quite  the gold-standard for transfer-news. They're not quite as good as SkySports or the BBC, but they're not nearly may as bad as The Sun or El Metro. That said, it's well worth considering the basket into which we might put our eggs. At £29m, Aubameyang would fit comfortably within our reported transfer-kitty of £70m, leaving more than enough room for us to make at least one or two other signings (not counting the presumptive signing of Čech). 

There. Disclaimers done. Back to the man himself. The first thought that comes to mind when mentioning Aubameyang is pace. For as much of that Walcott or Alexis might have, Aubameyang seems to have just as much, if not more. Speaking of more, he's bigger than most everyone in the current squad except Mertesacker, Szczęsny, and Giroud. I think it's safe to say that he'd win a footrace against any of them by several country-miles. Imagine an attacking trio of Alexis, Aubameyang, and Walcott. Is there any defense in the world that could deal with that pace? Even if there is such a defense, Aubameyang offers just enough of a physical presence to occasionally play a role similar to the one Giroud offers. Aubemeyang might be slight of frame, but he's shown that he can hold his own over the course of a season.

However, would this be another case of Arsène trying to buy at a discount? The going fee for a world-class striker seems to start at almost double that mentioned for Aubameyang. Other strikers, such as Benzema, Cavani, or Higuaín, might only be made available at a transfer-fee in the range of £60m or more. That doesn't take into account the weekly wages such players might expect. Aubameyang's weekly wages are in the £75,000 range, far lower than Benzema (£150,000), Cavani (£160,00), or Higuaín (£115,000). Each of those three might expect or demand a pay rise and automatic top-billing. By contrast, Aubameyang might hope for a pay rise (bringing him towards if not upwards of a six-figure weekly wage). That is, instead of a diva demanding to be catered to, Aubameyang might feel the pressure to prove his worth.

Would Aubameyang be the kind of striker who would vault us towards the top of the Prem, or would he be just another in a long line of Henry-wannabes who leave us fists-clenched and frustrated?