Aubameyang on brink of Arse­nal deal

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Matt Law and Sam Wal­lace

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

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