Is Aubameyang the Man To Fire Barcelona to Glory?
Aubameyang – the man to fire Barcelona to glory? FC Barcelona has a long history of star strikers and elite forwards playing for the Catalan club. The likes of Thierry Henry, Romario, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Patrick Kluivert, Luis Suarez, and, of course, Lionel Messi have all fired in goals for Barcelona over the years. Now the responsibility of finding the back of the net is on the shoulders of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Is he the man for the job?
Barcelona is going through a transitional period. Last season was the first time wince 2007-08 when Barcelona did not either win La Liga or finish as runners-up. The current season has been blighted by off-the-field issues, particularly financial problems, and allowing Messi’s contract to expire. Losing a player of Messi’s quality would hurt any team in the world, but Barcelona is struggling without the talismanic Argentinian. They reside fourth in La Liga, some 15 points behind leaders and arch-rivals Real Madrid, and some online sports betting sites do not think Barcelona will finish in the top four and qualify for the UEFA Champions League.
Aubameyang’s Incredible Goal Scoring Talent
This is where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang comes in. The 32-year-old Gabon international joined Barcelona on a free transfer from English Premier League outfit Arsenal during the January 2022 transfer window. The transfer could be one of the bargains of the century because Aubameyang cost Arsenal £56 million in 2018 and scores goals for fun.
Aubameyang began his professional career with AC Milan in 2008, but he never made a first-team appearance. Instead, Milan sent the lightning-quick striker on loan to a series of French clubs, first Dijon, then Lille, Monaco, then Saint-Etienne, the latter signing him on a permanent deal.
He was an instant hit with the Saint-Etienne fans, finishing as Ligue 1’s fourth top scorer with 16 goals during his debut season. Aubameyang scored 19 goals during the following campaign to be the league’s second-leading scorer, trailing only the legendary Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Aubameyang’s performances and natural goal-scoring ability attracted interest from Europe’s biggest clubs. He signed for the German Bundesliga team Borussia Dortmund. It is here that Aubameyang made a name for himself. The Gabonese star scored 98 league goals in 144 games and 141 goals in 213 games across all competitions between 2013 and the middle of the 2017-18 season before moving to Premier League team Arsenal for a then club-record fee of £56 million.
Arsenal fans instantly took to Aubameyang thanks to him scoring ten Premier League goals in his first 13 appearances. He scored 22 league goals in each of his next two seasons, another ten in 2020-21, but 2021-22 is when everything started going wrong.
Aubameyang’s Disciplinary Issues
Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta had several run-ins with Aubameyang over his discipline. Arteta omitted Aubameyang from the matchday squad for “disciplinary reasons” before Arsenal took on North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. The British media speculated Aubameyang was continually late for training. Arteta dropped his star striker before facing Southampton on December 11, 2021, before stripping him of the club captaincy three days later. Aubameyang never played for Arsenal again.
Barcelona initially wanted to sign Aubameyang on loan until the end of the season. However, Arsenal wanted him off their wage bill because his £350,000 per week contract still had 18-months to run, and Arteta had no intentions of selecting him. Arsenal not only agreed to let Aubameyang leave on a free transfer, but they also agreed to pay him £7 million to end his contract early, allowing Aubameyang to take a wage cut to become a Barcelona player.
Is Aubameyang Barcelona’s Saviour?
There is no doubting Aubameyang’s obvious talent but whether he is the man to come to Barcelona’s rescue and help them climb La Liga is open to debate. He is 32-years-old now and will be 36 when his contract expires. In addition, his attitude and discipline have been frequently questioned over the past couple of years, suggesting he no longer has the hunger to be one of the world’s best strikers
That said, securing a player of Aubameyang’s ability on a free transfer is a masterful stroke of business. Plus, having the likes of Memphis Depay, Ferran Torres, and Ansu Fati learning from him in training is priceless. He may not bang in 20+ goals a season for Barcelona, but he has the potential to help turn some of the squad’s players into legitimate superstars.
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