Arsenal 2019-2020 - Because Thursday Games are the Best Way to Start the Weekend

shaggydog2000

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You gotta fight for your right to Partey.

(That's all I've got, except to say that I still don't quite believe Auba will sign a contract extension, which could change the dynamics of whether Laca is expendable in a swap deal.)
I think all other decisions this offseason will hinge on whether or not Auba signs. The priorities and options are completely different if you have to sell him.
 

bosox4283

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Thanks to everyone for your commentary on Partey. I think he ends up staying if Arsenal doesn't make the Europa League (sorry to type that sentence). On top of that, I didn't realize that Partey has the third most minutes on the team behind Koke and Saul.
 

Tuff Ghost

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The latest Swiss Ramble thread on Arsenal has me more convinced that there will be only minor changes to the team in the next transfer window.

KSE loan might help a little, but #AFC transfer budget is more dependent on European qualification (Champions League or Europa League). As Mikel Arteta said, “I am planning for two or three different scenarios. Depending on that, we will be able to do more, less or nothing.”
The Arteta quote (from April) presumably means they would be able to do "more" (Champions League), "less" (Europa League), or "nothing" (no Europe). Arsenal seem to be heading straight towards option #3.

However, COVID-19 will lead to an estimated £37m reduction in #AFC 2019/20 revenue, made up of falls in match day £13m, TV £19m & commercial £6m. Similarly, in 2020/21 I have modeled revenue decrease of £89m (games behind closed doors until January) or £147m (BCD whole season)
View: https://twitter.com/SwissRamble/status/1282561371301978112?s=20


View: https://twitter.com/SwissRamble/status/1282561391287840770?s=20
 

mikeford

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if they miss europe entirely its going to be years in the wilderness for this club, maybe to never return since Stan isn't going to inject any of his own money to salvage it.
 

JimBoSox9

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I have some optimism that a full year of Arteta can get this current squad back to Europa next year, but we have to be realistic in that they need three Champions-caliber players between the central midfield and defense, and that kind of quality isn't coming in.
 

teddykgb

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You guys can continue to shout down mikeford as negative and I would agree that his posts are not exactly treading on new ground but it’s hard to argue that he’s been wrong about the direction. Maybe his tone is rough but Arsenal are in a really precarious position.

Arsenal spent money on Lacazette, Aubameyang, and later Pepe. That has not resulted in a high flying attack even under Arteta who is playing something like Guardiolas system. I think you almost have to shop one of the strikers to the highest bidder just to raise funds. I don’t know what kind of value Pepe would have but just undoing the revenue damage would at least give a chance to try again at a rebuild. Honestly you should probably sell all 3 of them but that may be particularly damaging in a Covid economy.
If I were a fan of Arsenal I think I’d want to stop trying the quick rebuild and jump back into the top 4 approach because I just don’t see it happening. United have found a bit of momentum and seem to be rebounding. City and Liverpool aren’t going anywhere. Chelsea just picked up Werner and are supposedly chasing Havertz... I don’t think you’re displacing any of those teams in even 3 transfer windows. And then you still have Spurs. I think the time horizon has to shift if the revenues can be maintained without falling into a FFP trap with an attempt to build a similar aged group that can make a real push. A few youth products mixed with some younger project players might allow a leap forward if Arsenal. And be patient enough with Arteta
 

Tuff Ghost

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I have some optimism that a full year of Arteta can get this current squad back to Europa next year, but we have to be realistic in that they need three Champions-caliber players between the central midfield and defense, and that kind of quality isn't coming in.
I agree with that sentiment. I think qualifying for Europa League next year is a reasonable and achievable goal for the team. Sure, it is possible they stay mid-table or even get lucky and qualify for Champions League, but those are lower percentage outcomes, I'd guess. (I'd estimate something like 55% chance at finishing 5th-7th, 40% chance at finishing 8th or lower, 5% chance at finishing in top-4.)

Arteta is making it clear that he wants funds to rebuild the squad. I'm still not expecting big changes, but at least he is being direct about what he needs:

For Arteta knows better than anyone that this Arsenal win does not suggest they are truly capable of keeping pace with the Premier League champions. In fact, the very nature of the victory suggests quite the opposite: Arsenal’s rearguard action confirmed their status as sizeable underdogs.

Asked whether he would have the finance required to fund a necessary rebuild, Arteta told Sky Sports, “I don’t know.” Is that a concern? “Big concern because you see how they build those squads and there is no magic. You need to improve the squad with quality, quality players and we need bigger squads to compete in this competition. And there is the challenge.” It’s a challenge Arteta has thrown at those above him: when the transfer market opens on July 27, are they prepared to give him the backing he needs?

It’s one thing to say it in private, quite another to do so in public. Arteta’s recent press conferences have hinted at concern over the club’s transfer budget but this was the most directly he has addressed the subject. It did not feel like an accident.
 

mikeford

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Without Europe money, they aren't re-signing Aubameyang so I don't know where you guys get this notion they'd challenge for top 4 with "no European distractions" if they don't have the guy who scores all their goals. If you have faith you can replicate what he does with a grab bag of Eddie, Martinelli and Laca, I'd like some of what you're smoking on
 

Tuff Ghost

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Without Europe money, they aren't re-signing Aubameyang so I don't know where you guys get this notion they'd challenge for top 4 with "no European distractions" if they don't have the guy who scores all their goals. If you have faith you can replicate what he does with a grab bag of Eddie, Martinelli and Laca, I'd like some of what you're smoking on
Respectfully, I think we can all relate to being frustrated by Arsenal, but I don't think anyone's opinions here are indicative that we must be "smoking."

After your last post, there were two replies from Arsenal supporters (JimBoSox9 and me) that said Europa is a realistic goal for next season, and one (Conigliaro's Potential) that raised the possibility that top-4 could be achievable with a full-year under Arteta ("might actually be able to push on toward the Top 4?"). Not that I want to speak for others, but I do not think anyone here is saying they fully expect top-4 next year or bust.

Regarding Aubameyang, he still has a year on his contract, so there is a distinct possibility he ends up back here next season (and later leaves on a free). There is also an argument to be made that Arsenal should spend the money to keep him. The fee of trying to buy a replacement for him would be significant and they may not make as much as they had hoped by selling him in the current climate. As a result, it actually may make some financial sense to keep him around, even though it would be on a large weekly salary. Additionally, Ozil's on his final year of his contract next season, so if they extend Aubameyang three years, at least two of those years would be without the Ozil contract anchor.

By keeping Aubameyang around for another 3 years, you'd have Saka and Martinelli (and Nketiah) getting a chance to develop alongside a great goal-scorer, hopefully aiding their development. By the end of the 3 years, Aubameyang would be getting up there in years, so he could, theoretically, be phased out by the youth gradually.

Below is some speculation on how much he is asking for from ESPN FC a couple of weeks ago:
Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has requested a minimum three-year contract worth up to £250,000-a-week to stay at Arsenal, sources have told ESPN.

The 31-year-old has entered the final 12 months of his existing agreement with talks underway over an extension after a delay in negotiations due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- ESPN FC

I do not know the answer to the Aubameyang conundrum and I don't exactly trust Sanllehi to make the right choice, but I am glad that Arteta seems to be involved and vocal about what he wants with regards to the squad.
 

mikeford

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If they let another guy worth 10s of millions walk out the door for nothing, this club is in even deeper trouble than any of us understand.

Either he extends or you sell him this summer. Doing the Aaron Ramsey thing again would be a disaster.
 

Tuff Ghost

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In a pre-COVID-19 world, I think the smart move is selling him. Now, I do not think the money they'll get for him is going to make us happy or help the club in a undeniably significant way. They cannot buy an equivalent replacement for him.

I am increasingly moving towards the idea that selling Lacazette (again, probably for not as much money as we'd like and certainly less than Aubameyang, although Lacazette does have 2 years on his contract left), and extending Aubameyang may be the best course of action for the team next year and the future. This is of course dependent on Aubameyang being agreeable to an extension, which is far from a given.

If the sale of Aubameyang is, say 20-30 million, is that really worth it, or should we continue on with him? What else are we going to bring in using the money for that fee? While not ideal, I do not think it is the end of the world if they get another year of Aubameyang and he leaves on a free because he very well could be the difference between Europa League or no Europa League next year. That affects their UEFA coefficient and having a deep run in Europa could nearly match the value of a ~20 million fee. It's not as simple as the Ramsey example any longer.
 

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Regarding Aubameyang, he still has a year on his contract, so there is a distinct possibility he ends up back here next season (and later leaves on a free). There is also an argument to be made that Arsenal should spend the money to keep him. The fee of trying to buy a replacement for him would be significant and they may not make as much as they had hoped by selling him in the current climate. As a result, it actually may make some financial sense to keep him around, even though it would be on a large weekly salary. Additionally, Ozil's on his final year of his contract next season, so if they extend Aubameyang three years, at least two of those years would be without the Ozil contract anchor.
Spotrac says he's got 2 years left, but other UK-based sources say just one. I have no idea. But if all he wants is a 25% raise, and would take a 3-year deal to replace his current one, that's probably worth it. Even if his speed falls off a bit by the end of that he's still a very useful player, and you could always sell him with a year left unless he looks like absolute toast.
 

lars10

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Yes, because its funny. Because as bad as we have been, it's still the Arsenal and we own this competition.
Just sucks that 99.9% of your comments are negative.

Although maybe this one was semi half positive?

And yes watching arsenal this year and the last few have been a slog.
 
I mean, the first 10 minutes notwithstanding, that was as good an Arsenal performance as I've seen in a long time, completing a week in which a club which in recent years has suuuucked against good teams defeated the two best sides in the country - and yesterday's win didn't even feel like a fluke. It was a performance based on an awesome tactical plan (the likes of which we haven't seen in freaking ages from Arsenal) backed up by players looking like much more than the sum of their parts, each of them having great individual moments in additional to functioning collectively like a well-oiled machine. I was literally singing "I've got my Arsenal back, I've got my Arsenal back!" to my wife...and then I came here to see @mikeford start by saying that this is our worst season in 30 years. Which isn't even true - Arsenal finished 12th in the league in 1994-95, for one thing, and more generally I'm not going to call any season a disaster that gives us a manager like Arteta, rejuvenated veterans like Xhaka, and relative youngsters to drool over like Tierney and Saka. But how about, maybe if you want us to think you enjoyed the performance, start with something positive, and not end with something that sounds rueful?
 

mikeford

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i'll probably post how i want to but thank you for the consideration.


more thoughts from yesterday:
david luiz was immense. i don't know what to think about a guy who gets sent off like 20 minutes in to his first match back AGAINST THIS SAME TEAM and then turns in that performance yesterday. possibly the most bewildering player we've had at arsenal in my time as a fan. he was very clearly coaching up AMN after the match too and i've already read in the Athletic that the younger players on the team look to him for guidance. a team this young benefits from having a guy like this around who has won basically everything there is to win even if he makes you pull your fucking hair out like 8 times a season.

tierney is going to be the best left back in the league in like 2 years if he stays healthy.

AMN was a beast in midfield yesterday. held mahrez to 1 shot on target and basically stayed up his ass all afternoon. they cannot let him leave like he reportedly wants to.
 

shaggydog2000

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The two goals yesterday showed great skill on the assists from Tierney and Pepe, and remarkable finishes from Auba. They really have to extend him, because I don't know that anybody else on the team would have scored those goals. You could see the team sitting back more as the game went on. The possession % went from 60-40 (Man City-Arsenal) around the time of the first goal to 65-35 at the half, and by the end of the game it was at 70-30. They packed their half of the field and just dared City to find a way through and they couldn't. It's the sort of game that would have infuriated me a few years ago if this was the Wenger era and we were playing a lesser team who played like this. But if we can play like this while we build the talent back up to the levels where we can compete openly with teams like City, that's great. And we get to watch another Cup final. Those are always special, and it sucks that I won't get to watch it with friends in a bar packed to the brim with red jerseys, but it's still a great way to end a season.
 

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And we get to watch another Cup final. Those are always special, and it sucks that I won't get to watch it with friends in a bar packed to the brim with red jerseys, but it's still a great way to end a season.
I'd be down for a SoSH watch party via zoom. I'll probably be rooting for Arsenal even if Pulisic FC wins today, the chance to steal a spot in Europe would just be so amazing.
 

Tuff Ghost

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I was literally singing "I've got my Arsenal back, I've got my Arsenal back!" to my wife...
Yeah, that match was just an absolutely joy-filled viewing experience. I had low expectations going in and the first 10 minutes terrified me, but the fight and resolve of this squad was immense. Arteta is getting a fully-committed and well-structured team out there.

I know the xG and stats show City were in better control and they obviously are of a much higher quality, but this really felt like a match that Arsenal deserved to win. The xG model I saw showed around 1 (Arsenal) to 1.6 (City). Per Arseblog, of the 43 matches that they have xG data for City, the 1.6 xG was their 35th lowest this year.

I recently criticized Arsenal's defending on set-pieces, so I must also now point out that City had 12 corners and 0 goals.

Arteta's emphasis on suffering together seems to really be sinking in with the players. Tierney had a quote after the match that emphasized it:
“I think the manager has mentioned before that we have to suffer together at times like this, in games like this,” said Tierney.

“When we get the ball we want to play, we want to play well but we know sometimes, for five-minute spells, 10-minute spells, we won’t have the ball at all and we just need to stick together.

“I think, tonight we done that. We showed great character and defensively we were very good.
- Arseblog

It would be wonderful to beat Chelsea in the final, particularly after last year's Europa League final disaster. Anything can happen in a single match, but it's hard to doubt that this version of Arsenal won't at least come out and put up a convincing fight.
 

tmracht

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I'm hoping both teams play to their abilities, yes steamrolling United as De Gea imploded is nice, but a final between Arsenal and Chelsea should be an intense battle. Very excited for this one, plus the implications on Spurs is a splendidly juicy side plot.
 

Tuff Ghost

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It may simply be some posturing, but Arteta is continuing to publicly express confidence in an Aubameyang extension. At this point, I am thinking a 3-year extension may be the most likely outcome, and one that I would happily welcome. I am cautiously optimistic, and I think if he stays, it is 100% thanks to Arteta.

“I like the way the conversations are going, I like what I’m hearing. I’m sure for both parties, the quicker we can do it, the better for everyone

I am confident he will extend his stay. I think he can sense – and we’ve told him – how much we like him, how much we value him.

“I think the connection he has with the fans is unique. I believe he is in the perfect place for him.

“Everything I have from him and the people around him is the same. So I don’t have any arguments to say something different.”
 

Tuff Ghost

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The 1-0 loss to Aston Villa yesterday was quite the slog to watch. It is apparent that at this point, the team feel more comfortable sitting back, defending in a compact unit, and counter-attacking. When they control possession, they lack the creativity in the final third to consistently break through.

The team could really use a creative midfielder to help create opportunities. Yesterday, they started the match with three goal-scorers up front (Nketiah, Lacazette, Aubameyang) and, arguably, three players best positioned as a central striker. None of them are prototypical creators. There is a definite lack of balance. Lacazette has been dropping deeper, sometimes almost playing as a 10, but the midfield is missing something and not doing the front-3 any favors.

On the positive side of the ledger, the team looked better once Tierney was subbed on. He is quickly becoming one of my favorite players. (Sidenote: The Athletic had a good human-interest type of article on him the other day that's worth a read for those who may have missed it.)

Well, just like last year, the team is finishing the Premier League campaign on a disappointing note, but still has a shot at European redemption with a final against Chelsea. The stakes are lower this time (Europa being the prize instead of Champions League), but, overall, I am feeling more hopeful about the future thanks to Arteta.
 

mikeford

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Mustafi done for the year. I guess I'd go with the back 3 of Bellerin, Holding, Tierney for the FA Cup final with Luiz sitting in front of them
 

mikeford

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Sadly our champion Pierre falls 1 goal shy of the golden boot this year.

Kinda wish he'd saved that insane overhead kick for next Saturday
 

mikeford

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It's perhaps worth noting that not only will Arsenal go directly into the group stage Europa League if they win the FA Cup on Saturday, in doing so they would knock Spurs out of the group stage and into the second qualifying round of the Europa League. Plenty to play for, then!
If wolves won Europa as well, it would knock Sp*rs out entirely
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Tomorrow feels pretty high stakes. Last year we were playing for the CL, which is obviously a more important competition than the Europa League, but I'm not sure the result against Chelsea really impacted our transfer plans that much. Everything coming out of the club suggests that the result tomorrow will have some pretty significant ramifications on how we approach the transfer market. Winning could also be key to getting Auba to sign a new deal and to cementing the progress that Arteta has made more broadly. I'll be happy with what Arteta has done to the squad regardless of the result and really believe that he is the right man for the job. But that job is going to be substantially easier if we win this match than if we lose.

I don't have a strong feeling about the match. Both sides have been playing 3-4-3 in big matches since the restart and both have gotten pretty good results with that formation. Matches between two clubs playing that way often seem to turn into cagey tactical battles in which the midfield pairings largely nullify each other and everything is about what happens on the wings and whether either club is adventurous enough to really bomb its wingbacks forward. I sort of like the idea of playing AMN on the right to help defend against Pulisic and Saka on the left trying to attack down that side. Giroud is in great form but I actually think he's a pretty good matchup for guys like Luiz and Holding, who tend to do fine in the air and in confined spaces but struggle when playing in space or dealing with quick tricky runners. As long as we don't have anybody sent off (gulp, David Luiz is still in the team), I think we'll have a good tactical gameplan, compete hard, and it will come down to fine margins and lucky bounces.
 

mikeford

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I think if they lose tomorrow it could be a very long time in the dark for this club. Stan has shown no interest in putting in any of his own cash to help us out and this squad needs a serious overhaul (and they need to extend Aubameyang) in order to get out of midtable mediocrity.

Losing the Europa Final last year may have been a blessing because I doubt they'd have sacked Emery if he'd won that. I do not think such a loss here in this final would act similarly and have faith Arteta is at least capable of making the club competitive for top 4 again.
 

Vinho Tinto

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I understand he had a connection to the club, but I’d be surprised if Arteta did not receive some kind of capital commitment when the club pitched him the job. He was probably the highest rated, and I’ll guess compensated, assistant in the world. He had options.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I understand he had a connection to the club, but I’d be surprised if Arteta did not receive some kind of capital commitment when the club pitched him the job. He was probably the highest rated, and I’ll guess compensated, assistant in the world. He had options.
I think that is probably right. The FFP rules have also been temporarily relaxed due to Covid, so Kroenke can put money into the club a bit more freely if he wants.

Arteta has consistently made three things pretty clear in his press conferences: (1) The current squad simply isn't good enough and the team will need to buy new players to improve in certain positions if it wants to really compete (2) He and the Kroenkes see eye to eye on everything (3) The amount of money they'll have to spend in the market will hinge on European qualification.

Add it all up and I think it means that Arsenal will have some money to play with this summer regardless, likely with Kroenke putting money into the club to cover Covid-related losses and fund that limited transfer expenditure, but that transfer activity will remain fairly limited if they don't make Europe.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Huge win for the club and we were fully good for it. Chelsea were unlucky with the injuries but I thought we were the better team - not by much, but better - after about 10 minutes. Given the state of the club when he arrived, Arteta has done an amazing job making us hard to beat and getting all the players pulling in the same direction. You know that we might not have the most talent on the pitch but that we won't be outworked or just completely break down tactically in a big match and you really couldn't say that about Arsenal since about 2006.
 

mikeford

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THE MOST ARSENAL ENDING OF ALL: AUBAMEYANG DROPS THE FUCKIN CUP WHEN THEY GO TO LIFT IT

Perfect. God bless him. What a great way to finish a very difficult season. Please delivery all the money you get by making it into the Europa League directly to Pierre's house.
 

shaggydog2000

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I think it was pretty even before the injuries and red card. Both teams had their stretches and it was pretty wide open at times. But the boys got the bounces and won, and they worked hard to deserve the bounces. The second Auba goal was just pure talent, making a silk purse from a sow's ear of a chance.

From here they have a lot of work to do rebuilding the team, but this makes keeping Auba more likely and more justifiable. I have a lot of faith in Arteta at this point, so no matter how weird this offseason is due to be because of the circumstances, I feel good about their chances.
 

The Gray Eagle

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Man City, Chelsea, Leicester, and Man U are all still in this tournament. It'd be downright shocking if Arsenal beat any of those teams, much less 2 in a row.
I'm glad we are in the semis, but I would give us about a 5% chance of actually winning the trophy.
You don't know what the hell you are talking about, fool!
 

shaggydog2000

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Worth noting that other than Auba, who is obviously a God among men, our best four field players in the match were Pepe, Tierney, Ceballos, and Luiz. Kudos to the recruitment team last summer.
He wasn't dominant all game, but Bellerin definitely had his moment too. And Emi came up very big on balls into the box. But you're definitely right in your picks.
 

fletcherpost

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Congratuations Arsenal and their long suffering fans.

Auba was asked about his future in his post match interview. He brushed the question off, which is his right. Just wondering if he's playing hard to get, (as is his right), or as RIo Ferdinand said immediately after the interview - 'that tells me he's gone'. Auba might be 31, but he hasn't lost that yard that quick front players often lose when they get past 30. He's World Class and should be capable of maintaining this level for at least two more years.

I'm no Arsenal fan but I've come to really love watching him and appreciating his play. It'd suck to see him in another shirt to be honest.

Arteta has won more than Poch.
 

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Aubameyang wanted a 25% raise, from his current GBP 10.4M / yr (200k/wk) to 13M/yr (250k/wk), with the contract for 3 years. It seems like a quite reasonable ask, given his peers:

- Alexis Sanchez (signed by Man U, loaned to Inter for 19-20): 18.2M x 4 years, 2 years in / 2 years remaining, ages 29*-32
- Anthony Martial (Man U): 13.0M x 6 years, 1 year in / 5 remaining, including 1 club option, ages 23-28
- Sergio Aguero (City): 12.0M x 2 years, 1 year in / 1 remaining, ages 31-32
- Mo Salah (Liverpool): 10.4M x 5 years, 2 years in / 3 remaining, ages 26-30
- Marcus Rashford (Man U): 10.4M x 5 years, 1 year in / 4 remaining, including 1 club option, ages 21-25
- Harry Kane (Spurs): 10.4M x 6 years, 2 years in / 4 remaining, ages 25-30
- Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal): 9.5M x 5 years, 3 years in / 2 remaining, ages 26-30
- Roberto Firmino (Liverpool): 9.4M x 5 years, 2 years / 3 remaining, ages 26-30

Those are the only EPL forwards making more than Aubameyang today. Aguero might leapfrog him if they sign an extension this year or just let the final year play out, if he seems to keep his level up. Alexis Sanchez looks overpaid, and Kane underpaid (with Timo Werner, at 5 x 6M/yr, possibly ending up dramatically underpaid), but in general I think PEA's demands are a fair valuation for only a 3-year commitment. Maybe they negotiate that last year to be a mutual option, but I wouldn't want to be the one to try and haggle him down a bit on price.

btw, apparently my confusion a week ago with Spotrac vs media reports about precisely when his contract ends is because there is a special clause there, a club option that both sides know won't be exercised. As The Athletic reported this past week:

Talks have been positive. Aubameyang has an excellent relationship with Arteta and is also in contact with Edu. It is a sign of the significance of this deal that head of football Sanllehi is now the sole negotiator on Arsenal’s behalf.

Both parties have shown a willingness to find an accord. Aubameyang’s initial contract was one of the first major deals that Fahmy drew up on the club’s behalf. It was signed in a hurry on transfer deadline day and consequently a number of clauses were inserted that have since been disregarded. Although June 2021 is the official end date of Aubameyang’s deal, The Athletic understands Arsenal did insert a purchase option on an additional year. This technically granted Arsenal the ability to unilaterally extend Aubameyang’s deal by a further 12 months, if they meet certain financial conditions.

There was an agreement that activating this clause suited nobody’s purposes. For Arsenal, the financial conditions would have been punishing. For Aubameyang, this summer is the right time to sign a deal that will offer him a degree of security in the latter stages of his career. He’ll require a contract that lasts several years, not a 12-month extension. The clause has effectively been deemed redundant: there is a recognition that you do not hold a player or person of Aubameyang’s standing against their will. If an agreement is found, it will be a mutual decision.
(that whole article is an excellent overview of his situation, btw, if you're a subscriber. If you're not, I'm happy to dish out 30-day guest passes like candy, just PM me)

* Sanchez's contract also included an introductory year that replaced 2017-18, the final year of his previous contract, at 9.1M
 

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Jul 15, 2005
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The FA Cup win was a lot of fun and I am glad Arteta can now point to that as another reason why the players should buy into his vision of the club. He may not have all of the players he wants, but he is getting the best out of a lot of role-players, unlike Emery who seemed to create a culture of confusion.

Aubameyang is incredible, there is not much more that I can say about him. I hope he stays. Tierney was also very good again and I am becoming a pretty big believer that he is a talent that Arsenal supporters are going to be very happy to have over the next several years.

The Maitland-Niles usage at the end of the season was interesting. He went from an occasional right-back, seemingly on his way out of Arsenal, to a useful midfielder / left wing-back. I was surprised how far up the pitch he was getting yesterday. His deep runs down the left created some extra space for Aubameyang. AMN lacks some end-product in the final third, but he definitely contributed in a meaningful way.

I think Arteta is showing how much he values positional-flexibility and a complete understanding of the pitch. Both AMN and Saka are great examples of flexible, almost position-less players that contributed to some of the team's best moments. (The absence of Saka down the stretch after his new contract was interesting, too. Nagging injury or just tactics?)

Finally, I want to say how much I appreciated Emi Martinez's play. I thought Leno had a great season (partially because he was facing an absurd amount of shots, thus making him always visible), but Martinez stepped in and played great. I honestly am not sure who I would want to start next season as the number one keeper. Martinez was pretty emotional after the match. Winning the FA Cup after spending 10 years on contract with Arsenal, constantly being out on loan, and only previously having 6 Premier League appearances with Arsenal, made for a great feel-good story.

Watching Aubameyang break the trophy and Pepe wear the top of it like a hat was pure joy. As frustrating as this year has been at times, I do really like most of the squad and I was happy to see them get a chance to enjoy this moment of success.
 

coremiller

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
4,543
Congratuations Arsenal and their long suffering fans.

Auba was asked about his future in his post match interview. He brushed the question off, which is his right. Just wondering if he's playing hard to get, (as is his right), or as RIo Ferdinand said immediately after the interview - 'that tells me he's gone'. Auba might be 31, but he hasn't lost that yard that quick front players often lose when they get past 30. He's World Class and should be capable of maintaining this level for at least two more years.

I'm no Arsenal fan but I've come to really love watching him and appreciating his play. It'd suck to see him in another shirt to be honest.

Arteta has won more than Poch.
He hasn't lost that yard of pace yet, but when it goes, it goes quick. I don't know if Arsenal have much choice because they can't replace him, but a new contract would be a big risk.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
12,917
Pittsburgh, PA
He hasn't lost that yard of pace yet, but when it goes, it goes quick. I don't know if Arsenal have much choice because they can't replace him, but a new contract would be a big risk.
The Athletic article I posted above explains why (the authors' sources at) Arsenal believes that Aubameyang may age well:

The decision to award Ozil that lavish contract casts a lengthy shadow over Arsenal, and potentially over their negotiations with Aubameyang. Ozil was 29 at the time — the rate of decline in his effectiveness had not been anticipated. Aubameyang is 31 now. He is Arsenal’s best player — but at the time his contract was agreed, so was Ozil, having been voted the club’s player of the month in both November and December of 2017.

Arsenal felt they could not afford to lose their star and took a decision which still weighs heavy upon them. It was a calculated gamble that backfired. At this critical point in the club’s history, they can not afford to get it wrong again.

When assessing the wisdom of offering any ageing player a new contract, there are two key components to examine closely for signs of decline: the physical and the motivational.

Certainly, Aubameyang’s athletic attributes show no obvious signs of fading. “Physically, he’s a freak,” says one Arsenal source. He played 3,138 minutes of this Premier League season, the highest tally at Arsenal by some distance — this despite a three-match ban in January (one of the games he missed was in the FA Cup). Earlier this season he was clocked at 35.5 kilometres per hour, making him the fastest player in the Premier League. That speed won’t vanish in a matter of months — when it declines, it’s likely to be more gradual.

Sometimes when a player’s future in doubt, their commitment will waver. That hasn’t been the case for Aubameyang. The Athletic understands that when Arsenal study in-game data for metrics such as sprints and high speed, he invariably tops those lists — usually alongside Kieran Tierney. Contract speculation has not reduced his physical output in training either. Arsenal staff speak of a model professional who appears to be in his prime.

Aubameyang has been helped by a remarkable fitness record. “The biggest predictor of injury is previous injury and he doesn’t have much of a previous injury history,” explains someone who witnessed Aubameyang’s feats of athleticism first hand. “Yes, he’s 31, but some would argue his injury record means you could take a couple of years off that.” His consistent availability is all the more remarkable given that he’s a sprint athlete, and they tend to incur muscular problems. Jamie Vardy’s continued success at 33 proves anomalies do exist.

When it comes to the subject of motivation, Arsenal will derive a sense of security from the fact that Aubameyang genuinely seems to be enjoying his football. “He’s not a guy who’s going to sign that last contract and go into dormancy,” a source suggests. “OK, he’s not Diego Costa in terms of a competitive streak, but it looks like he is having fun out there.”

He is relishing working under Arteta. The coaching staff have marvelled at the fact a player with his experience and reputation will happily stay on to do extra work after every single training session. He doesn’t need to be pushed — he will voluntarily take any opportunity to improve.

The “bad boy” myth from Dortmund has turned out to be little more than that. Aubameyang’s ascension to the rank of club captain is indicative of the standing he has among his team-mates. While he is close with Lacazette, his language skills mean he is able to connect with people from all corners of the dressing room. Recently he has spent time with Bukayo Saka and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, harnessing his experience to act as a mentor figure. He’s not a conventional captain, not someone to launch into an inspiring speech — it is these quiet moments of advice that demonstrate his leadership style. That, and his unerring focus: he trains, he eats lunch, he goes home.
I had no idea he was faster than Vardy or Traore, that's nuts.