Sunday, July 3

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang : Barcelona sign Arsenal striker on free transfer on Deadline Day

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Arsenal agree to let Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join Barcelona on free transfer, 18 months from end of his £350,000-a-week contract; Juventus had hoped to move for striker but could not convince Atletico Madrid to cut short Alvaro Morata’s loan in Italy

The Premier League club are estimated to be making a saving of around £25m in wages with Aubameyang’s departure. But his exit means Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta’s will finish the season with just two recognised strikers in his squad, with both Eddie Nketiah and Alex Lacazette out of contract in the summer.

The deal had looked off earlier on Deadline Day after talks broke down over the financial part of the deal.

But it is understood that Aubameyang, who flew out to Barcelona on Monday morning, took a significant pay cut to facilitate the move.

“This is a big risk by Mikel Arteta because what happens if Aubameyang goes to Barcelona and scores a lot of goals?

“It just shows how much Arsenal are backing the judgement of their manager. Arteta is saying ‘I know he is our best goalscorer, he is the club captain, he is the highest earner at the club for disciplinary reasons l don’t want him at the club’. It’s a big, big call.

“I know he is leaving Arsenal under a bit of a cloud but there are also a lot of good memories. His ratio of goals to games is right up there with the great players.

“Arsenal supporters will say ‘we are weaker now than we were at the start of the window’. But in this instance, you have to back Mikel Arteta’s judgement – that is what the Arsenal owners are doing.”

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