Arsenal: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ‘problems’ end with winning

DORTMUND, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 21: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund looks on during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur at Signal Iduna Park on November 21, 2017 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
DORTMUND, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 21: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund looks on during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur at Signal Iduna Park on November 21, 2017 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images) /
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Arsene Wenger has dismissed the recent disciplinary problems of Arsenal’s record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. While it may be a little naive to not expect to arise again, wins will quickly end any controversy.

Arsenal have broken their transfer record for the second time in just six months. That is notoriously unusual for a club that is especially stringent with its spending. But it is nonetheless exciting, particularly considering the position and the calibre of the additions.

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Both Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are two of the most prolific centre-forwards in European football of the last few seasons. Collectively, in the 2016/17 season, they scored 59 goals in 62 league games. That is a tremendous goalscoring rate, one that few other individuals can match.

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But there is a question regarding the most recent acquisition: character. Aubameyang, especially more recently, has been disciplined on multiple occasions, leading to several suspensions, including one just a week prior to his North London transfer. Arsene Wenger, though, is not so concerned. When asked about Aubameyang’s behaviour, Wenger stated that he did not feel that there is a problem:

"“I don’t think that is a problem. He spent four years in Germany and has had some problems in the last year that were linked with the fact that maybe his transfer did not work in the summer and he did not have the same commitment as he had before.  I am quite confident that this will be a new challenge for him and overall his behaviour will be fine. ‘I know him from France – he played for St Etienne and Bastia – and usually, his behaviour was never a problem. He is a professional guy.”"

Wenger’s comments do have an element of credence. Certainly, the competitiveness of the Premier League, the greater commercial opportunity, and the chance to sell himself as one of the best players on the world stage, very much like Mohamed Salah has done this season, will provide Aubameyang with ample motivation to keep his behaviour in check.

But, ultimately, it will be wins that end the controversies that Aubameyang could cause. There have always been difficult players to deal with, but winning is the only common solution to any of the issues that they may bring. If Arsenal win games, challenge for titles, and lift trophies, then it will be easy to keep Aubameyang in check; if they struggle, toil to another season in which they fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League, for instance, then problems could soon arise.

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Aubameyang is a thorny character who is not afraid to kick up a fuss. That cannot be denied. But winning will calm any of his problems. The question, then, is whether Arsenal can actually win.