The financial impact of Coronavirus means Arsenal have little choice but to sell Aubameyang
If Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang does not sign a new contract with Arsenal this summer then it is inconceivable that they will allow him to run his contract down and leave the club on a free transfer.
The brutal truth is that Arsenal will be unable to afford to lose a £50 million asset for free. The club is expected to lose tens of millions even if the season is resumed, especially if it is resumed behind closed doors.
If the season is cancelled altogether the loss could be as much as £154 million. How is the club expected to plug that loss and have the money to replace a player of Aubameyang’s calibre in the event he leaves for nothing? They cannot, it really is as simple as that.
Stan Kroenke is very unlikely to inject significant funds into the club, if he was so inclined you would think he would prioritise his American sports assets first and foremost. However, any funds injected will still have to comply with financial fair play.
Arsenal is going to have to plug any financial hole themselves and that comes from cost-cutting and player sales.
The players do not look too eager to take pay cuts to help the club out, not without conditions.
If you think back to the summer much was made about the transfer budget being only £40 million and yet they went out and spent £72 million on Nicolas Pepe, well, a massive chunk of that still needs to be paid and that, even without coronavirus, would have affected this summers transfer budget, as would failure to qualify for the Champions League and for that matter, the Europa League.
It would be great to have Aubameyang’s goals for at least one more season, one could argue that his goals could drive the team under Mikel Arteta to Champions League qualification next season and the money from that would have offset the cost of losing the Gabonese hitman for nothing.
That is no longer an option and so it is almost impossible to see what else the club can do if Aubameyang does not sign on the dotted line.
It could also be argued that there are ready-made replacements for Auba in Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah but that is simply not the case. Both players have great futures ahead of them and they may well go on to be as good a player as Aubameyang or even better but not right now. They are a world away from the level of the 30-year-old, neither is a like for like replacement in terms of quality, not yet.
As sad as it will be, the reality is that Arsenal will most likely have to sell Aubameyang once the transfer window opens up.