Arsenal: £74 million for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has one answer

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is reportedly set to be the subject of a £74 million offer from Real Madrid. For Arsenal, there is only one answer to such an offer.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is Arsenal’s top goalscorer. In many people’s eyes, he is their best player, even though Alexandre Lacazette was handed the Player of the Season award. Even when conducting a rebuild, as the Gunners are under Unai Emery, it is rarely wise to sell your best player — or at the very least, one of your best and most crucial players.

Sometimes, however, you do not always have a choice. Manchester United had to sell Cristiano Ronaldo, Spurs were forced into selling Gareth Bale, Liverpool sold both Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho.

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But in all of these cases, the clubs sold their players for top dollar. Ronaldo and Bale broke the world record transfer fee; Suarez was around the same range. Coutinho was the best part of £150 million, which was quickly turned into Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho, Naby Keita and a raft of other key signings. Selling your best player does not have to be detrimental to team building, but it does have to be carefully managed.

Surfacing this week, Aubameyang is reportedly the subject of interest from Real Madrid, with the Spaniards in dire need of a reboot. After Ronaldo’s departure last summer, Madrid crumbled, with the team now desperately requiring some substantial spending in several positions — Eden Hazard is already said to be on his way to the Bernabeu. And it seems as though Aubameyang could be a possible target.

For Arsenal, though, this need not be a bad development. Yes, it would be helpful if Aubameyang remained with the club, but the Gunners could use the resources that his sale would bring to reinvest in other areas of the team. With Lacazette already holding down the centre-forward role, could the money being invested in Aubameyang not be used in other positions?

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Moreover, Aubameyang will turn 30 this summer. Not only does that mean that his prime is coming towards its end and that he cannot be expected to be a complete contributor for too much longer, but it also diminishes the opportunity to sell for a good value in the future. It would be surprising to see a major fee paid for a 31-year-old, which he would be in 2020?

All this brings me to the reported fee that Madrid are willing to pay. £74 million. That seems like pretty close to top dollar to me, which is what is required for selling Aubameyang to be even a mildly palatable idea. In fact, I would go as far as to say that if an offer in the region of £74 million really is on the table, the Gunners only really have one answer. And that is ‘yes’.

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I do not want to sell Aubameyang. But at some point, the price becomes undeniable, and £74 million is certainly approaching that range. It may be a little jarring, but for that price, I am not sure how Arsenal could say ‘no’.

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