92 goals. 29 appearances. 163 matches. Those are the statistics of former Arsenal captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who completed a January transfer deadline day move to Barcelona. The 32-year-old Gabonese striker had been at loggerheads with the club, most especially manager, Mikel Arteta, after a couple of disciplinary misdemeanors which saw him stripped of the armband earlier in the season. Aubameyang used exactly 4 years at The Emirates, after signing for £56m in January 2018, as the final signing of legendary Gunners manager, Arsene Wenger, and his time at the club will always divide opinion.
He remains the fastest player to reach 50 Premier League goals for the club, hitting the milestone in 79 matches, 4 games earlier than Thierry Henry managed in his time at North London. Aubameyang, on his day, was a world-class striker, who could score goals for fun, but ultimately, his disciplinary issues were too much for the club to stomach, but many associated with the club speak fondly of a player, who really enjoyed his time there, gave his all for the club, and was always there for the young players at the club.
Few would forget his goals that propelled Arsenal to the FA Cup title in 2020, with two goals against Manchester City in the semifinal, and Chelsea in the final led Mikel Arteta to his finest moment as Arsenal boss to date. He was also the joint top scorer in the Premier League in 2018/2019, hitting 22 goals alongside Mo Salah and Sadio Mane, and becoming the first Arsenal player since Robin Van Persie to receive that accolade.
He signed a 3-year contract extension back in September 2020, rumored to be in the region of £350k-a-week, the same terms Mesut Ozil was given before things tailed spectacularly for the German. In a similar fashion, Aubameyang’s level has dropped. Last season, he scored only 15 times in 39 matches, a pale comparison to his 29 strikes in 44 matches in the previous campaign.
While he is a likable figure in the dressing room, the performances on the pitch, as well as the many disciplinary issues he faced that were not befitting of a senior member of the team, which meant his position at the club had become untenable, as the fact that he had been dropped from the warm weather training camp in Dubai proved.
At 32, he is not the youngest of players, but at his pomp, he made the Emirates his stomping ground, which many fans will never forget. Others will also remember a player who looked a shadow of his former self in recent years. Now that he is gone, each Arsenal fan will remember him in the way they deem fit, even Arteta.
He caused so much trouble for the Spaniard, but he gave him his finest moment with those goals in the FA Cup latter stages. He will always divide opinion in the Emirates.
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