Tag Archives: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Alexis Sanchez warning for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

£22,000 per minute.

That is what Alexis Sanchez’s loan deal has cost Inter so far this season.

The Chilean winger is on an enormous £400,000 per week at Old Trafford and Inter are set to pay over £4million over the year long move.

Considering the 31-year-old has only played 186 minutes this season, it has cost the Italian club a staggering £22,000 per minute.

United have had to cover the rest of Sanchez’s wages, meaning they will have spent over £5m on a player that hasn’t played for them this season.

Sanchez’s demise highlights the dangers of giving a huge contract to an ageing player whose best days are coming to an end.

In January 2018, Manchester United thought they had signed a man who would turn them into champions once more, in the same way Robin van Persie scored the goals to drive them to the title following a transfer for Arsenal.

His 18 months in the North-West saw him score just 3 league goals.

The loan deal to Inter Milan was supposed to revitalise his career. Following injury and poor form, Guiseppe Marotta, the chief executive of Inter, does not want to pay the £17.5million it would cost to snap him up on a permanent deal.

It is a warning for Arsenal who are in contract discussion with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Reports at the weekend are that Aubameyang is holding out for a £300,000 a week, a figure that Arsenal are reluctant to match – and seeing the Sanchez situation you can understand why.

Tying up £15.6m a year in a single player a a huge investment that can effect the clubs ability to invest in other players.

Aubameyang turns 31-years-old in the summer and Arsenal will be worried that offering him what he wants could lead to another Mesut Ozil situation.

Ozil has clearly gone downhill since his big contract, and it is a noose around the clubs neck. Arsenal would not want the same to happen to Aubameyang.

There is differences, however, between Aubameyang and Sanchez.

Aubameyang is with Arsenal. The coaches will be watching him day in, day out. They will know his current physical attributes. If he is still putting out the same numbers as he was since he 1st joined. They will know if he is beginning to decline.

It was with similar knowledge that led to Arsenal letting Sanchez go to Manchester United. They would have known he was on the decline. That his explosiveness had gone. His top speed had was not as quick. That his acceleration a little slower.

Armed with all the knowledge on a player, built up over time, Arsenal are able to make a judgement on the player. The difference for Manchester United and Inter Milan is they would not have 2 years of data on the player.

Aubameyang is showing no signs of slowing down – showing that age is nothing but a number. Players do not suddenly his 30 and begin to decline.

Some keep going for years after entering their 3rd decade. Others, like Michael Owen and Fernando Torres, are shot in their late 20s.

Offering Aubameyang a new deal has to still be Arsenal’s preferred option. But they have to protect themselves in the deal.

If Aubameyang wants £300,000 a week, and Arsenal think he is worth that much, the club should try and agree a 2 + 1 deal.

Sanchez’s demise is a warning to clubs offering big contracts to senior players who are reaching the end of their peak.


Goal Scoring – It’s an old mans game

Yesterday I discussed about how being the wrong side of 30 does not suddenly stop Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang by being a top class striker.

A look around the top scorers of Europe tells a story of the “old men of football” outperforming the youngsters:

The top two in England – 33-yeard-old Jamie Vardy and the eternal Sergio Aguero – are both older than Aubameyang – with the Arsenal striker 3rd on the list.

Over in Italy, Ciro Immobile tops the list – he turns 30 at the end of this month. Cristiano Ronaldo at 35 is 2nd, with Romelu Lukaku 3rd. At 26-years old he is one of the youngest on the long list.

La Liga is topped by Lionel Messi (32), Karim Benzema (32) and Luis Suarez (33). no other played has scored over 10 goals.

Germany bucks the trend; with 2 of the 3 top scorers being under 30 – although 31-year-old Robert Lewandowski still tops the charts. He is backed up by Timo Werner (23) and Jadon Sancho (19).

Of the 28 players to have scored over 10 goals in Europe’s top 4 leagues (Premier League, La Liga, Serie A & Bundesliga), 12 are over 30 and just 5 under 24-years-old.

If Arsenal do decide to let Aubameyang (and Alexandre Lacazette) leave this summer, they have to be looking at bringing in a proven goal scorer. Not take a risk on someone from Portugal, Holland or France. The above list would be the starting point.

You would want the Aubameyang replacement to be no older than 27 years-old. That way Arsenal get least at 3 seasons out of him before we are in the same situation as we are now.

16 players are over 27-years old, leaving us just 12 players.

Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Tammy Abraham are all playing for Premier League rivals. We can draw a line through them.

You can also remove Jadon Sancho as he is not a striker – I would not be upset to see him on our left wing next season.

Joao Pedro and Danny Ings are in the same sort of boat as each other. Having a good season, but are either Arsenal quality? No.

Romelu Lukaku only joined Inter Milan in the summer so he is unlikely to leave.

That leaves Lautaro Martinez and Timo Werner.

Werner is the stand out name on the list. Just 23-years-old, he already has 100 senior goals. He has been linked to Chelsea and Liverpool already. If he comes on the market, any top side after a striker will be after him.

If Arsenal do decide to cash in on Aubameyang and Lacazette, Werner must be top of the list. But I imagine Chelsea and Manchester United are thinking the same for next summer.

As for Martinez, I know nothing about him.

The reality is there is not a lot of quality proven goal scorers in world football that have youth on their side.

One option would be to look outside the top 4 leagues, and instead focus on Holland, France and Portugal:

The obvious one of Kylian Mbappe aside, there is also not much outside of the top 4 leagues.

Would you rather Aubameyang up top or Cyriel Dessers, Habib Diallo or Victor Osiemhan?

Moussa Dembele is the next best after Mbappe, but is he really up to Aubameyang’s level yet? Surely a better option would be to keep Aubameyang and sign Dembele as a replacement for Lacazette.

Likewise Myron Boadu is clearly a talent, but like with Gabriel Martinelli he is young and it will be a risk to have him as first choice.

I would rather keep a 31-year-old Aubameyang, backed up by Martinelli, than spend big on someone who is not really good enough.

Football is changing. Goal scoring is no longer a young mans game.


Age ain’t nothing but a number for Aubameyang

But Aubameyang is 31 at the end of the season was the response why I proposed on Twitter that we should be looking to tie him down to a new deal, even if it means increasing his weekly wage.

Arsenal fans (and perhaps football fans in general) have been conditioned over the years that passing through 30-years-old is something that is bad. That suddenly you go down hill rapidly. That you are done. That you should not get a contract beyond one year.

Arsene Wenger had the philosophy that players over 30 should only get a one year extension. But this theory is built on 1990s players who had not looked after themselves from a young age. These days players know a lot more about diet, fitness and drinking.

It is true that tying up money in someone at their peak is a danger. If they are at their peak they will soon by over the hill and going down the other side.

When a player is at his peak is when they usually command their highest wages in their career. But it is also when they are most likely to begin declining.

Andriy Shevchenko is the most obvious example of this.

Shevchenko left Milan for Chelsea for £30.8 million a month before his 30th birthday. He was one of the hottest strikers in Europe. 127 league goals in 226 games. He became the most expensive player in English football, and one of the highest paid.

He scored just 9 league goals in the 2 seasons he was at Chelsea before being loaned back to AC Milan.

But then you have the story of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo signed a four-year contract with Italian club Juventus after completing a €100 million transfer. He was already 33.

In the one and a half seasons that have followed, he has scored 50 goals in just 70 games across all competitions. Ronaldo has shown that age is nothing but a number.

When it comes to a players age and how long a contract you offer them, it is perhaps better to look deeper than their birth certificate.

Look at how many games he has on the clock, how often he picks up minor injuries, how many major injuries he has had throughout his career, and how naturally fit he is. It is also important to establish whether he has any long term injuries that he has been managing.

Aubameyang has played 488 games in his career. It is a huge chunk. But he was not a teen sensation who was playing week in, week out since he was 17 or 18. He had only played 39 games prior to his 20th birthday.

After this season he will have had 12 full seasons under his belt. Wayne Rooney and Nicolas Anelka were both 29-years-old when they completed their 12th full season.

Rooney played a further 3 seasons for Manchester United; Anelka 3 seasons for Chelsea.

Both did tail off in their final season, but that is why you offer Aubameyang something along the lines of a 2 year deal with an option to extend to 3 years.

Injuries also play a big part in what age a player begins to decline.

Someone who has had a big year-long injury will usually begin their decline earlier. Especially as a big injury can led to the rest of their career being blighted by further break downs. Think Abou Diaby.

Likewise a player plagued by multiple minor injuries will often give up earlier. Michael Owen or any number of player plagued by hamstring injuries. Gareth Bale springs to mind.

Throughout Aubameyang’s career, he has not suffered too many injuries – neither long term or short term.

A players natural fitness is also very important.

The human body naturally slows down as you age. Your metabolism slows. It is harder to keep those pounds off. But it affects people less who are “naturally fit”.

Compare again to Wayne Rooney. He was not a natural athlete and had to work hard to keep fit. Every pre-season was a slog. Every return from any sort of break he had to lose a couple of kilos. Eden Hazard has similar problems.

You can tell by Aubameyang’s body size and make up, he is a natural athlete. He does not need to work hard to stay in shape.

Finally the underlining injury issues. Think Thierry Henry. His back issue.

He was managing a back problem for a while, and eventually it caught up to him. As far as we know, Aubameyang does not have an underlining issue.

So here we have Aubameyang, about to turn 31-years-old, but his “body age” could be that of a 28 or 29-year-old. The sports scientists at Arsenal will know the score.

Ian Wright scored 30 goals in 41 games when he was 33.

Do not write off a player just because they are the wrong side of 30.