Aubameyang on brink of Arsenal deal
Arsenal are on the brink of agreeing a three-year contract with PierreEmerick Aubameyang in what will be a huge boost to the FA Cup winners and head coach Mikel Arteta.
Talks have advanced to the stage where Arsenal are now drawing up the final proposal, following a positive round of talks in which verbal promises were made.
As long as Aubameyang, his representatives and his lawyers do not find any problems in the contract or differences from what has been discussed, then it is expected the 31-year-old captain will sign.
The contract would run until 2023, covering the final 12 months he has on his existing deal and extending it by a further two years. It is likely to be worth in excess of £250,000 a week and include lucrative bonuses.
Aubameyang has scored a 70 goals in 109 appearances since signing from Borussia Dortmund for a then club record fee of £56million in January 2018 and, despite his age and the expense of his new deal, is rated as irreplaceable by Arteta.
Other than receiving a pay rise, Aubameyang has been offered assurances that new signings will be made, along with outgoings – one of whom will be Ainsley MaitlandNiles, who has been told that he will be made available for transfer.
Maitland-Niles, 22, has been the subject of inquiries from Everton and Brighton and Hove Albion respectively and is valued at upwards of £20million as a versatile player, who had starred in the final stages of Arsenal’s FA Cup triumph.
With three years left on his contract, and able to play in a number of positions, the England Under-21 international is expected to attract some interest as Arsenal prepare to sell assets in order to rebuild their squad.
The club announced 55 redundancies among non-playing staff this week, while also acknowledging that they will have to invest in transfer fees for new players and contract renewals if they are to have any hope next season of qualifying for the Champions League.
Maitland-Niles is one of their more saleable assets and has the longest unbroken association of any player at the club, having joined the Hale End academy at the age of five.
While Arteta would prefer to have Maitland-Niles next season, he is aware that the requirement to raise funds and cut costs means that not every player can stay.
Hector Bellerin could also be leaving in a surprise departure. The right-back is believed to be keen on the prospect of a new challenge, having spent nine years at the club after joining from Barcelona.
The scout who helped to bring him to England, Francis Cagigao, is the most high-profile of Arsenal’s redundancies. Alexandre Lacazette
is another first-team player Arsenal may be open to listening to offers for, while out-of-favour midfielder Matteo Guendouzi can also leave.
Arteta must sell players if he is to undertake the rebuild of his squad he would like, with Willian expected to join on a free transfer from Chelsea, having been offered a three-year contract, with the option of a further 12 months.
Arsenal are also tracking Lille central defender Gabriel Magalhaes and want a central midfielder, having already inquired about Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid.
Former Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho has been offered to Arsenal. However, they are not pursuing a deal for the Barcelona midfielder, but may show an interest in the 28-year-old later in the window.
Questions have been raised over whether Arsenal should be spending money while making redundancies, and there has been surprise and anger among the squad over the recent announcement.
Some club employees have also questioned why director Josh Kroenke, who is largely responsible for running the club, did not make sure he was in the country when the announcement was made to deal with the fallout.
Arsenal players believed that they were helping to protect the jobs of the club’s non-playing staff by agreeing to a 12.5 per cent pay cut during the coronavirus lockdown. Those players will get some of that money back, with the cut dropping to 7.5 per cent for qualifying for the Europa League, while there is disappointment that winning the FA Cup did not help to protect jobs.
The club believe they would have been forced to make more redundancies had the players not taken a wage cut and also hope they will now be able to deal with any further financial impact that could follow as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Big boost: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is set to sign a contract with Arsenal bumping his wages to £250,000 a week