Arsenal have been told that they must make a decision on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future this summer.
The striker has just one year remaining on his current contract in North London, with rumours linking him with moves to clubs both abroad and in the Premier League.
The Gabon international will turn 31 this summer, but talks over a new deal between his representatives and the club are yet to reach an agreement.
Aubameyang’s record in the Premier League has meant links to the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United have cropped up in recent months.
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And it leaves Arsenal in a delicate situation that they have seen in the past, with Alexis Sanchez leaving with six months remaining on his deal in 2018 and Mesut Ozil extending his stay in the same January window, while Aaron Ramsey moved on to Juventus on a free transfer in the summer of 2019.
To avoid a repeat of any of these situations occurring, former Arsenal star Charlie Nicholas says that the Gunners have to be decisive at the end of the current season.
“This guy is a goal machine, his record tells you that,” Nicholas told Sky Sports. “The evidence says the last thing you want to do is lose a player like Aubameyang. He is a magical goalscorer.
“The only way his sale might be acceptable is if it funded a rebuild. Arsenal have been trying to rebuild for five years, maybe even more, and they have never come close to achieving that. They dropped out of the Champions League and have lost revenue.
“They do not want to lose Aubameyang in terms of what he brings to the table, but Arsenal have failed abysmally when it has come to players running down a contract. You only have to look back at Aaron Ramsey leaving the club last summer to know how bad they’ve been in this area.
Arsenal during the break
“Arsenal might be able to make selling him work if they got the rebuild right, but the reality is that he is absolutely vital to the team.
“My preference would be for Aubameyang to stay. The problem, however is that as much as I would like to get my way, I have a feeling Arsenal will not keep him.
“If it means offloading Ozil and others to fund his new contract and the rebuilding of the team, I would have no problem with that. But if Ozil stays, I feel they will sell him, because they cannot afford another Aaron Ramsey saga.”