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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Barcelona and Juventus make offers to sign Aubameyang on loan, with Arsenal wanting to offload the misfit striker before the January window closes

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Barcelona and Juventus have firmed up their interest and made approaches for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The Spanish and Italian giants want to take Aubameyang on loan until the summer, with discussions ongoing regarding whether either deal would include an option or obligation for the striker to move permanently.

Aubameyang has been subject of firm interest from Saudi Arabian sides Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal.

Both are keen to sign the 32 year-old on an initial loan, with Al-Nassr prepared to include a £7m obligation, and pay all of his £350,000-per-week wages. Either offer would be more financially favourable to Arsenal.

But Aubameyang’s preference is to remain in Europe and despite falling out of favour at Arsenal recently, his track record at the highest level – 233 goals in 376 games in the last 10 seasons for Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal – has ensured his reputation remains intact and he is still in demand at some of the continent’s major clubs.

Paris Saint-Germain and Aubameyang’s former side AC Milan have also shown interest this month.

Juventus are on the verge of tying up a £62m deal for previous Arsenal target Dusan Vlahovic and also keen to offload Alvaro Morata – currently on loan from Atletico Madrid – which could impact their move for Aubameyang.

Arsenal would almost certainly have to subsidise his wages should he join a club in Europe. That could represent the best-case scenario for the north Londoners.

Aubameyang has not played for Arsenal since December 6 and was stripped of the captaincy after a breach of discipline, when he returned from a trip to see his mother a day late.

Manager Mikel Arteta’s punishment of Aubameyang continued this week when he omitted him from the squad selected for Arsenal’s winter training camp in Dubai, leaving him out with no indication of when his exile may end.

Arsenal’s focus remains on resolving his future with a push to find a solution before Monday’s transfer deadline for Aubameyang, who received the all-clear following cardiac tests last week after returning early from the Africa Cup of Nations.

Since being frozen out of the squad Aubameyang has trained at different times to his team-mates who have had minimal contact with their former captain.

As well as surprising Aubameyang, Arteta’s ongoing treatment of the Gabon forward, which will lower his value, has also raised eyebrows elsewhere amid Arsenal’s attacking issues and increase the pressure on them to bring in a new striker before Monday’s deadline.

Aubameyang is one of only two established senior strikers at Arsenal.

The other, Alexandre Lacazette has scored five times this campaign and will see his contract expire at the end of the season, along with youngster Eddie Nketiah.

Ex-Arsenal skipper Aubameyang has not featured for the club since the start of December

View gallery Ex-Arsenal skipper Aubameyang has not featured for the club since the start of December

Another academy product, Folarin Balogun, has been loaned to Middlesbrough for the remainder of the season. Arsenal have other strikers on their shortlist after missing out on Vlahovic.

Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Real Sociedad’s Alexander Isak, Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins and Napoli’s Victor Osimhen are also under consideration though would be difficult to sign in this window.

Morata and Real Madrid’s Luka Jovic has also been offered to Arsenal among other clubs, though if they cannot land one of their priority targets, sources insist Arsenal will only be tempted if a deal makes economic sense.

 

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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