by the end of the 2019-20 campaign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang goals were propping up Arsenal as they limped to their worst league finish in 25 years, the Gabonese hitman was responsible for 39% of the gunners total domestic hall, meaning they were more dependent on one player to find the net than any other side in the top eight there was brief respite from their bitterly disappointing league form when Aubameyang captained the club to FA Cup glory
however, even in the aftermath of that victory the striker was coy about his future, there was a sense that at 31 years of age he was running out of time to win that elusive first league title a move to the continent appeared likely this was until news broke that he penned a new lucrative long-term deal but is he worth the money let’s take a look
immediately after the club’s FA Cup exploits, manager Mikel Arteta announced he wanted to build the team around Aubameyang it was a very public challenge to the club’s board however things became more complicated when Arsenal’s head of football Raul Sanllehi was let go by the club it was widely reported that the former Barcelona man was Arsenal’s sole negotiator, when it came to renewing Aubameyang’s contract this meant that the gunners technical director Edu and contract specialist Huss Fahmy had to step in to get it over the line.
previously Arsenal’s transfer committee would have had the final say on such matters in this instance it appears the club’s hierarchy were willing to place their trust in Arteta judgment, Aubameyang’s Arsenal career so far has been emphatic he’s the first player to score 20-plus goals in consecutive seasons since ThierryB Henry and was quicker to 50 Premier League goals in the likes of Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa however at the age of 31 are his best years behind him from a numbers perspective there have been signs of decline in Aubameyang game with a shot slipping from 4.3 per 90 in 15/16 to 2.7 per 90 in 19/20.
his xg has also decreased year on year at the gunners from 0.9 per 90 in 17/18 to 0.6 last term, not only that there’s a sense that history might be repeating itself after all the club made Mesut Özil the highest-paid player in their history at the age of 29 following a resurgence in form a move that has yielded very little return however what Aubameyang has achieved at a stuttering Arsenal shouldn’t be underestimated without their captain a humiliating bottom half finish beckoned with his goals clinching 20 points for the Gunners last campaign even in his pomp Özil was never relied on in the same manner it’s simple if the gunners retain champions league ambitions they can’t afford to lose Aubameyang if he gets injured they won’t be able to afford anyone.
else as Arteta has sought to make Arsenal more defensively stable the north London side have lost some potency going forward the last term they finished 15th in the Premier League for shots per game fewer than relegated sides Watford and Norwich in fact in Aubameyang’s two full seasons at the club the gunners have failed to post in the top 10 for this metric making his golden boot feat in 18/19 all the more impressive in the subsequent season he missed out on top honors to Leicester’s Jamie Vardy despite scoring more goals from open play this consistency is even more startling when you consider the gunners were 16th for key passes in 19/20 with only Nicola Pepe generating an expected assist rate of over 0.2 per 90.
ultimately this means Aubameyang has produced elite output on a side that takes a below league average amount of shots without an outstanding creator in it, not to mention he plays off the left despite his age there’s been little sign that his athleticism is declining in 19/20 he played the most minutes in the Arsenal squad ranked first for defensive pressures and was clocked as the Premier League fastest player
plus given Arteta once decided to become more dominant on the ball there should be fewer physical demands on PEA moving forward chance creation remains a huge headache for Arsenal something the club will need to address if they want to squeeze the best out of Aub in his early 30s but that’s a problem for another day, for now, Arteta will be praying for another golden boot from his golden goose after giving him a king’s ransom.