Former Arsenal striker Jeremie Aliadiere has blasted the club for their “wrong management” of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s contract situation.
Aubameyang, who signed for the Gunners in January 2018, has just over a year left on his deal at The Emirates having become arguably the club’s best player in the past two seasons.
The Gabon international has netted 61 goals in 97 appearances for Arsenal – including 17 in the Premier League this term – but his precarious situation has opened up speculation over his future.
Arsenal must either hand the 30-year-old potentially his last big contract and see his value decrease over the next few seasons, sell him this summer for a sizeable fee or risk losing him for free at the end of June next year if they wait.
As regards his potential exit, Manchester United and Barcelona have both been linked with a swoop and, speaking to Goal, Aliadiere explained in no uncertain terms that Aubameyang should be sold this summer.
They’ve got to sell him, 100 per cent,” Aliadiere said. “Arsenal can’t keep losing players on a free.
“To be honest, I still can’t believe we’ve again got a top player, our captain, going into the summer only having one year left on his contract.
“For me, it has to be sorted when he gets to two years. Last summer he should have signed a deal or been sold. Because when you get down to one year left, in a player’s mind there is a difference.
“If I was Aubameyang and I knew I only had one year left, I would sacrifice one year of my career to go on a free and get paid a ridiculous amount of money and have all the clubs in the world chasing me. Who wouldn’t?”
Arsenal have established a reputation of allowing top players to leave in the final years of their contracts, with Aaron Ramsey departing for Juventus on a free transfer last summer.
In the past 10 years, Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Samir Nasri, Robin van Persie and Bacary Sagna have all followed suit, with only Ozil being kept on – at a sizeable cost to Arsenal’s wage bill.
“That’s why I just think it’s wrong management yet again,” Aliadiere added. “It should be sorted at two years. You should not let a player end up with a year left on his contract, especially a player like Aubameyang.
“It’s not right. I just think players are playing on it, they keep letting negotiations drag on and the next thing you know, he’s just got one year left.
“And now, how much are we going to sell him for with one year left? Arsenal are in the worst position you can imagine again because you’ve got a top quality player who assures you of 20-25 Premier League goals a season who is one year away from leaving on a free.
“Or, he gets sold to Barcelona or Real Madrid and for what? How much can you expect for him now? Nothing compared to what if you’d sold him last summer. They could have asked for £100 million.”
Arsenal only have one player – goalkeeper Matt Macey – whose contract expires at the end of June, with the futures of loan signings Pablo Mari, Cedric Soares and Dani Ceballos still unclear.
However, the next 12 months are set to be crucial for the Gunners because, as well as Aubameyang, the contracts of David Luiz, Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Bukayo Saka are all set to run out.
In other news, the latest reports have suggested that Arsenal are close to signing Feyenoord’s Orkun Kokcu and Borussia Monchengladbach defender Nico Elvedi.
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