LaLiga giants FC Barcelona has been in search of a replacement for Luiz Suarez, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remains very high on their list of targets. The Spanish champions targeted the Gabonese striker in the January transfer window and is certainly on their radar for the summer transfer window as well.
Before the Covid-19 outbreak, the football landscape looked quite certain, with transfer prices continuously on the rise and investment flooding into the elite game. The interruption to normal life from Covid-19 subsequently infiltrated every sport on the planet and now everything that we ever took for granted has ended for the foreseeable future.
No one knows how the game will look when it resumes at the end of April, perhaps even longer. In terms of transfer fees, clubs may be mindful that their entitlement to the bottomless pot of riches may not always be available and as a result, prices of players will have to reflect that fact.
In the summer, the transfer window will open nervously with lots of negotiations pending and one player that will be under the spotlight is likely to be Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is said to have made his decision to have one final move to the Barcelona.
However, it now seems that Barcelona are keen on signing Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez and Aubameyang happens to be an alternative if the Catalan side fails to sign Martinez.
The price was expected to be around £60m but Arsenal are expected to shave the price to do a deal, which in turn could facilitate a move for either Samuel Umtiti or Jean-Claire Todibo (presently on loan to Schalke 04) to partner William Saliba next season.
Pre Covid-19, any move for the pair would have been something of a non-starter, but with Aubameyang’s price appearing to be something of a bargain at a respectable £55m, a deal could be done with one of the two Barcelona defenders.
Umititi could go for under £40m and Todibo could go for £10m. In 2019, Todibo replaced an injured Saliba for the French U20’s and the pair could form an interesting partnership in defence for the Gunners. Presently on loan at Schalke 04, Todibo has a €25 million option to buy in your loan deal so unless Schalke go ahead with it, Arsenal could really capitalise on a wonderful prospect without losing an arm or a leg.
If you want to get extremely excited, you could contemplate a move for Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele but that is just the work of a fertile imagination or a desperate optimist. Dream a bit harder and Philippe Coutinho (presently on loan at Bayern Munich) will also feature but that is as likely as a Covid-19 free evening in front of the TV.
Arsenal could get a decent reciprocal deal for a key defender, a position that eventually cost Wenger and Emery their jobs and has been an Achilles heel at the club for at least 10 seasons or more.
Let’s assume Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has confirmed his departure. Although it’s sad and unwanted, at 31, it makes good sense to offload him, it may even provide a long term answer to Arsenal’s rickety defence.