Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang agreed terms with Arsenal to cancel his contract in North London. The attacker will join Barcelona.
It’s understood that Aubameyang, who flew out to Catalonia on Monday morning, took a pay cut estimated at $20 million over the next 18 months to facilitate the move.
Whatever you think of Aubameyang, if the numbers being reported are even marginally accurate, he's taking a £15m pay cut over the next 18 months to join Barcelona.
He's putting his money where his mouth is, unlike vast majority of others. Respect for that.
— Gabriele Marcotti (@Marcotti) February 1, 2022
On transfer deadline day, Aubameyang reached a verbal agreement with the Blaugrana and has already started training at his future club. The 32-year-old was not yet officially unveiled as a Barcelona player, but the event could take place on Wednesday. Manager Xavi hopes to have him in his squad for the clash against Atletico on Sunday.
Aubameyang was not part of Mikel Arteta’s plans at Arsenal anymore. He started the season as club captain, but was stripped off his armband after a disciplinary breach in December. Aubameyang scored 92 goals in his 163 games at Arsenal. Last month, he went through a scare following a COVID-19 infection that also stopped him from representing Gabon at the Africa Cup of Nations. Aubameyang was sent to London for a thorough heart check but was finally given the all-clear by doctors.
In 2017, when he was signed from Borussia Dortmund, Aubameyang cost Arsenal around $75 million, a then-club-record fee.
“We wish Auba all the best for the next chapter in his career and thank him for his contribution to the club,” Arsenal said in a statement posted on the club’s website.
The player’s contract was supposed to end in the summer of 2023. He was on a staggering $24 million per year contract. Arsenal accepted to let him go for free so they could save around $34 million until the summer of 2023.
With Aubameyang out and no new strikers arriving on deadline day, Arsenal must now rely upfront on Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah for the rest of the season.
Xavi’s dilemma: who stays out for Europe?
Barcelona is only able to add three new players to its European competition squad list this month. Dani Alves, Adama Traore, Ferran Torres and Aubameyang are the reinforcements brought at Camp Nou during the January transfer window. And sources in Spain claim Xavi sees Aubameyang missing out on European football for the time being.
Barcelona is currently fifth in La Liga and must push hard for a top-four finish at the end of the campaign. The first step must come against Atletico on Sunday. Barca is now at +138 to finish in fifth place or lower, meaning they are out of the Champions League next season if they don’t win the Europa League to be granted access.
Barcelona is at +120 to win against Atletico, with the Spanish defending champions at +225 and a draw at +240.