Arsenal legend Ian Wright speaks straight from the heart, and it’s clear he’s gutted to see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leaving the Emirates Stadium.
Speaking on his Wrighty’s House podcast, the pundit defended Aubameyang’s character after a difficult time to his end in north London.
Aubameyang’s form had taken a dip, but the Gabon international has still secured a big move to Barcelona, and Wright seems somewhat in shock about how quickly things went downhill for the player.
Wright also made it clear that he thinks Aubameyang is a good enough player that it’s worth building things around him, just as he had done for him during his time at Borussia Dortmund.
“He’s taken a massive cut to go there (Barcelona) and he’s willing to do that,” he said.
“With all the people saying he’s just signed a contract and just clocked off, he got offered the same money he’s on at Arsenal to go to Saudi Arabia.
“We’re talking about somebody who is a very colourful individual and plays football with a smile on his face. When it’s not right you can see it’s not right for him and it’s not about the money.
“Because he’s himself, he’s very colourful, people can easily get that mixed up. When he came to this country everybody talked about him as this party animal, but he’s not like that at all. He’s a family man. He’s a family family that likes colourful clothes and colourful cars, but scores goals.
“The saddest thing for me was that we don’t know what’s happened. I’m not really bothered to know what has happened now with him and Mikel. What couldn’t be healed in a time where we need goals.
The former England international added: “I’m quite disappointed that somewhere along the line something couldn’t have been resolved.
“But it’s not resolved, he’s gone and I’m sad to see him go.
“It just feels so definite. That’s it: bam, out, gone! If I’m being totally honest, I didn’t think it would come to this.
“I thought it would be the kind of thing that would be resolved simply because we’re talking about a year since he signed that deal.
“If there was something wrong with the lateness… we don’t know what it is. I don’t know and I’m in touch with the guy. But you just think, with the way it’s gone, I can’t understand, deep down, why something couldn’t happen, simply because he’s only just signed.
“So if everything was going on before there would have been a lead-up of misdemeanours for the manager to maybe say, “You know something? No, let’s not sign him because I believe what’s happened up until this point… he’s been doing this, he’s been doing this and if that carries on… if we sign him for this much money what’s going to happen?”
“And it just seems like if you knew there’s things that he’s been doing that you don’t like and this is a chance for him to not sign again and to leave, then why did we sign him for so much money, put so much into him and then a year later he’s gone.
“I’m very sad on a personal level because I think he’s made for us.
“If you’ve got Auba then you gear everything into him and structure everything for him to do what he does.
“I remember not long ago I was watching his goals for Dortmund and it’s just all geared to him so I’m devastated that we couldn’t do that for him.
“But I feel, as much an I love him, I have to back the manager because he’s our manager now. He’s taken the chance doing what he’s doing and I’m going to back him with that.
“I have to say in the current climate, and we don’t know the other half of the story, I have to go with the fact that the manager has done what he’s done and agree with him moving on and I think it’s best for everybody.
“At the end of the day, it comes down to what is best for the team and the club.”
Many Arsenal fans will surely be feeling Wright’s pain here, as Aubameyang looked like he had it in him to go down as a club legend before things suddenly went so wrong between him and manager Mikel Arteta.
The 32-year-old will be remembered fondly for his superb brace against Chelsea in that 2-1 FA Cup final victory in 2020, and it still feels like he had more of those big moments to offer, even if his form had taken a dip.