Yesterday I made the statement that Aubameyang should never play for Arsenal again.
This was not a knee jerk reaction.
His recent form justified him being dropped. We were already looking to get in a new striker in January. His disciplinary issues now take him beyond being dropped and into being sold territory.
But if Aubameyang leaves in January, what happens next?
Firstly a lot will depend on what happens with Aubameyang. Whether we get a few for him. Whether he leaves on a free transfer, or is loaned out for 6 or 18 months.
Maybe Newcastle United will come in. Make him their stellar signing for January. Money for salaries won’t be an issue for them.
Barcelona are also desperate for a striker.
They have been linked with Edison Cavani in recent days. I am not sure what their financial restrictions are and whether that will block a deal for a new striker.
If they are allowed to sign Aubameyang, I can see maybe an 18-month loan deal being suitable for both parties.
Barcelona get the striker without a fee, Arsenal get the wages off their books.
And then there is China.
Before joining Arsenal he looked on the verge of disappearing into oblivion in the Far East.
It perhaps shows the motivation of the man that at 28-years-old he was pushing for a love to China.
Do they still have money out there? Are they still splashing the cash? I do not know.
Personally, I think we need to get rid of him regardless of fee. Either a free transfer or an 18 month loan deal where his wages are paid.
So let’s assume we get no fee for him. The move would still be beneficial for Arsenal as we could reinvest his £250k a week contract.
Aubameyang’s contract costs the club £13m a year. An accounting rejig splitting the amount across salary and amortised transfer fee could see Arsenal lose Aubameyang for nothing, spend big on a replacement and not have too much change on our yearly outgoings.
One target is Dusan Vlahovic.
The Serbian is reportedly on just £26k a week. Arsenal would likely nearly quadruple his salary to £100k a week if we signed him. That would be a £5.2m contract.
Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso has reportedly slapped a £77m transfer fee on his young striker.
Amortised over a 5-year deal, that would cost Arsenal £15.4m a year.
So a move for Vlahović would cost Arsenal around £7m a year more than what Aubameyang is currently costing the club.
It is an increase but not a significant one.
Outgoings would be further reduced as Arsenal will save a potential £2.5m a year if Eddie Nketiah leaves on a free next summer – and Nketiah would not need replacing.
If we could push Fiorentina closer to £60m, we could end up in a situation where signing Vlahović is offset by the departures of Nketiah and Aubameyang.
So financially, we could sign Vlahović for a big fee whilst losing Nketiah and Aubameyang for nothing without it having a big impact on our finances.
The only head ache is whether we would have the ~£70n burning a whole in our pocket to make that initial payment to get him in.
We can use the above maths swapping Vlahović for a number of names. It is about the finances rather than the name right now.
So we lose Aubameyang in January and bring in a new big name. What next?
What we would then next have to do is tie Alexandre Lacazette down to a new 2-year-extension.
Despite being in and out of the team, you never hear any grumblings of discontent from the Frenchman.
He comes across as a mode pro. Gets on with things. No discipline issues and never sulking. A few of our youngsters have also previously spoken about how he is a bit of a father figure in the squad.
So if Aubameyang leaves it then opens the door to a contract extension. Although it has to be a deal that makes sense for Arsenal.
He would then provide cover and competition for the new signing. Giving the name man a chance to find his feet in the Premier League.
A new top striker plus Lacazette would also solve the African problem in the club – we would no longer have to think about the ACoN when deciding what to do with youngsters.
It would open a door for Folarin Balogun to leave on loan for the second half of the season.
Arsenal would then have a new striker at their disposal is January, backed up by Lacazette and Nketiah. That should be enough fire power and cover.
Then in the summer when Nketiah leaves for free, Balogun steps up to be that 3rd choice striker and we move on.
Whilst the Aubameyang situation is leaving us all with a bad taste in our mouths, it at least gives the club the excuse to move him on for free in January without too much fan anger.
Aubameyang’s time is done. Out with the old. In with the new.