Arsenal have been described as ‘willing’ to sell captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang just a year after handing him a new contract that means he is currently the highest paid player at the club.
Aubameyang scored 54 goals in his first 85 Premier League appearances following what was then a record £56m transfer in January 2018. But that form deserted him last season, long before contracting malaria in March, and he was absent for Friday night’s defeat to Brentford.
Both Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette were ruled out of the game due to feeling unwell, leaving Folarin Balogun to make his Premier League debut.
But Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville questioned whether something else is going on after manager Mikel Arteta confirmed the senior pair were ill without discussing it any further.
“I thought there was a little bit of something there where he talked about they are ill earlier on today that’s all I can say. It was a bit short,” Neville speculated during coverage after the final whistle.
“I never quite know if there’s some problems deeper, whether he likes his players and I really worry when a manager doesn’t like some of the dressing room. I can feel that he might not, knowing Mikel Arteta, who wants really good professionals who are going to do everything right.”
It is The Times that reports there has been concern over Aubameyang. His pre-season was considered underwhelming and more generally there are worries over his form since signing his lucrative new contract last September.
Already keen to sell Lacazette instead of offering the Frenchman a new contract, as 90min revealed in April, Arsenal are now said to be ready to listen to offers for Aubameyang as well. The Gunners want a new striker instead and are trying to agree a deal with Chelsea for Tammy Abraham.
This is not the first time that Arsenal have had doubts about Aubameyang as they had considered trying to sell him last summer before ultimately offering him his new contract.