At last, the wait is over.
With Arsenal fans left to reel over the thought of losing one of their world class stars – like so many times before – all lingering doubts over the future of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can be finally put to bed. He’s here to stay.
A ‘will he?’, ‘won’t he?’ saga that has gone on for more than a year can be put to bed. As confirmed via live stream, the club captain is going nowhere.
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It’s something that the supporters have nevertheless been quietly confident about for a few months. Links to Barcelona, Inter and, God forbid, Chelsea had been bubbling to the surface, simmering away in the back of our minds as this boiling pot of emotions has toyed with our sanity.
When such speculation began to sizzle out, the end result appeared very much assured: Aubameyang was going to sign a new deal, it was just a matter of when.
That when is now. Now, at a vital period in the club’s history, one of major significance and renewed optimism. One of drastic change and fresh orchestration. A moment in the timeline that, if not fulfilled, could have a damning impact on what comes next.
In desperate need of returning to the Champions League for a plethora of reasons, even the faintest consideration of attempting to do that without a player who is 18 goals shy of joining the Arsenal 100-club in just 111 outings was terrifying prospect many did their best to bottle up.
We needn’t worry anymore.
Not only is Aubameyang putting pen to paper on new terms providing the significant boost Arsenal need in the goals department, it’s the leadership and mentoring that comes with which supplies equal measures of importance. Goals win games, but anyone who excels in that field is of invaluable importance to others, too. Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah are stars in the making. Is there anyone better in world football to lend and ear and help hone their craft than Aubameyang? Likely not.
He is also, of course, the captain. Kieran Tierney has spoke in glowing terms of the characteristics the 31-year-old provides off the pitch. Someone “humble”, who leads by example and is impossible not to admire for the professionalism he exudes.
This long-term deal will see him stay at the club into the very latter years of his career, but one faint glance at his injury record means that age number is best disregarded. Knock a few off, if anything.
Becoming the best paid player at Arsenal is the very least he’s deserved. They should have thrown in a few private islands for good measure.
With the season now started and the transfer window in full flow, Arsenal deficiencies elsewhere are stark. Yet it’s impossible to argue a case for Aubameyang’s extension not being the club’s best bit of business this summer. In every meaning of the word, the Gabonese striker is irreplaceable.
Good thing he doesn’t need replacing then.
O Captain! My Captain!