The fallout from the Gunners’ captaincy decision from the past week has raised doubts over the club’s decision-making.
Former Arsenal star Paul Merson believes the club should never have handed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a new lucrative contract.
The Gabon international signed a new three-year deal worth £54.6million in September 2020 to extend his stay at the Emirates on a reported £350,000 per week.
Arsenal awarded these terms to Aubameyang after the forward’s decisive goals against Manchester City and Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals and final respectively on route to their first title under manager Mikel Arteta that year.
Throwback to when Aubameyang signed his new contract
🗣 "I said I signed da ting because I want to become an Arsenal legend!" pic.twitter.com/hi9p6KTz2w
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) December 14, 2021
Fast forward to the present, however, the decision has backfired. The goals have dried up for Aubameyang since he put pen-to-paper on the deal. He was then stripped of the captaincy this week following a disciplinary breach.
“Arsenal have got what they deserved with Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang because they never should have given him that contract,” Merson wrote in his Daily Star column.
“He’s on far too much money for his age, he hasn’t been the same player since he signed it, and he shouldn’t come back into the team now in my opinion.
“If anyone offers him £350,000-a-week elsewhere I’d drop him off there but Barcelona have got no money and I don’t see how they could afford even half of his wages.
“Arsenal for me are in this situation again because they let him run down his contract and then gave him a lorryload of money. It’s like Mesut Ozil all over again.
“Aubameyang is a great finisher with great pace. But he’s 32. They must have realized he wasn’t going to get any quicker…”
The former Arsenal midfielder also slammed Aubameyang’s leadership qualities and ‘disrespectful’ rule-breaking actions.
Arteta’s side, meanwhile, visit Leeds United in the Premier League on Saturday. For match details and betting tips, check out the link here.