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Biggest Exit of the January Transfer Window | Arsenal Striker to Join Barcelona on a Free Transfer

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Al-Nassr, Barcelona

According to multiple reports, Barcelona have reached an agreement to permanently sign Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on a free transfer.

Aubameyang has had a turmoil season so far. Having missed the season’s start due to COVID, he was later sidelined by Mikel Arteta due to disciplinary issues. Before he could play a single game at the AFCON, he was released by the Gabon squad.

Aubameyang, Barcelona
(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

He returned to London to train with Arsenal but was left out of the squad that has gone to Dubai for a training camp. And if reports are to be believed now, the North London club are prepared to sell the striker with interest pouring in from various clubs.

In this transfer window, Arsenal have not announced any signing so far, but already have five exits from their squad. Aubameyang was already rumoured to be the next in line, with Saudi club Al Nassr offering a loan deal with the obligation to buy. Al Nassr were even ready to match his current high wages, believed to be around £350,000-a-week. However, the Gabonese striker preferred to wait for offers from European clubs and his wish seems to be granted.

Three days ago, according to Sky Sports, Juventus and Barcelona had contacted Arsenal and wanted to sign Aubameyang on loan. However, no official offer from either of the clubs were presented at that moment. It was believed to be a difficult deal to complete given the high wages that Aubameyang earns from the North London club.

The Athletic then reported the clubs nearing an agreement over a loan deal involving the 32-year-old striker. However, the player’s move to Spain seemed unlikely earlier today as negotiations broke down due to the financial structure of the deal.

Now, as reported by Sky Sports, Barcelona have agreed to a deal to sign Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang permanently on a free transfer. The report states that the Arsenal forward has taken a significant pay-cut to secure a deal.

Meanwhile, transfer expert Fabrizio Romano reports that the negotiations are almost complete as the final paperwork is being drawn. Aubameyang is currently undergoing his medical at Barcelona. Arsenal have allowed the Gabon international to leave for free, taking no part in the negotiations.

Aubameyang did not have his best season so far. Although he scored a hat-trick against West Bromwich after returning from COVID, he has had troubles on and off the pitch. In 21 Premier League games that Arsenal have played, he has appeared in 14 matches and has just 12 starts, while he has found the net only four times. In December, his issues with the club led to the club stripping him of the captaincy.

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Aubameyang tested positive for COVID again when he arrived in Cameroon for AFCON. He was later released from the squad without playing a single game after medical scans revealed he had “heart lesions”. The striker returned to London and further tests were carried out to ascertain his issues. Later this month, he found himself out of the Gunners’ squad for their warm-weather training camp in Dubai.

Though his departure saves Arsenal around £25m in wages, it will cost the team. Now, Mikel Arteta will be left with only two recognised strikers in the squad, with both Nketiah and Lacazette set to leave in the summer. The Gunners were confident of signing Vlahovic in January, but Juventus snatched the player away. Arsenal need to sign a striker immediately.

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Abir Chaudhuri
A football fan who loves to write about the game.

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