Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has claimed that Arsenal are in a “better place” now that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has left the club.
The north London giants allowed the Gabon international to join Barcelona for free on Deadline Day. The 32-year-old had 18 months left on his £350,000-per-week contract with the Gunners. The club reportedly paid him a lump sum of around £7 million to terminate the contract and become a free agent.
Following the termination of Aubameyang’s contract, Arsenal are set to save around £25 million in wages, although at a terrible cost. The club will finish the season with only two first-team strikers, Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah, both of whom are out of contract next summer.
Merson, however, believes letting Aubameyang leave was a good decision on the Gunners’ part, and they are now in a “better place.”
Comparing Aubameyang’s situation to that of Tottenham Hotspur’s Dele Alli, the former England international told Sky Sports News:
“I think it leaves Arsenal in a better place. It’s a bit like the Dele Alli situation.”
“You will show Dele’s goals of about six or seven years ago. Well, Aubameyang’s goals were last year and the year before. He hasn’t done too much recently.”
“I think he is a big influence in the dressing room with the younger kids. I think behind-the-scenes, the manager has done a good job and thought ‘I need to get rid of him’.”
The 32-year-old played 163 games for Arsenal across all competitions, scoring 92 goals. He won two trophies with the Londoners: the FA Cup in the 2019-20 campaign and the FA Community Shield the following season.
Paul Merson urges Arsenal to get a “superstar” next season
With Lacazette and Nketiah set to become free agents at the end of the season, Arsenal desperately need reinforcements in the final third.
Merson has acknowledged the Gunners’ lack of depth in that department and has urged them to sign a “superstar” in the summer.
“People are saying they are short, well maybe they are. But next season, they have to go and get a superstar.”
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Mikel Arteta’s side tried to sign Dusan Vlahovic and Alexander Isak in January but came up short. Vlahovic’s recent move to Juventus makes him untouchable, but the Premier League giants could still go after Real Sociedad’s Isak in the summer transfer window.