Arsenal absolutely left themselves over a barrel when it came to Pierre Emerick Aubameyang’s contract last summer, and it was always likely that they would take some kind of criticism.
If he was allowed to leave for a reasonable fee then it would be Alexis Sanchez and Robin van Persie all over again, but giving a big contract to an ageing striker who relies on pace had a huge chance of backfiring.
In fairness, he’s also had some illness and off the field issues to deal with too but he’s completely lost form, and they now need to find a way to move him on and build around someone else.
The problem was always going to be finding a buyer, but it looks like Barcelona are willing to send Philippe Coutinho in the other direction:
Barcelona interested in signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Arsenal. Willing to offer Philippe Coutinho in part exchange. Sky in Italy reporting Barcelona tried to sign Tammy Abraham from Chelsea. Abraham is joining Roma in €40m deal.
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) August 16, 2021
If the Gunners somehow ended up with the Liverpool version of Coutinho then that’s an ideal situation, but the reality is they’ll be swapping one underperforming high-earner for another, and the Brazilian also comes with a raft of injury problems.
If Arsenal could somehow convince Barca to sign Aubameyang and continue paying some of Coutinho’s salary then perhaps it makes sense, but it still looks like they would be repeating the same mistakes as always.
Willian, Ozil and Aubemayang are all examples of players who had no sell-on value and were given contracts that paid them too much when they were past their prime, and Coutinho is also 29 so he would just be the next in line for that kind of treatment.