Paul Merson: This would be a ‘major disaster’ for Arsenal
Paul Merson has his say on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's contract situation at Arsenal
Paul Merson has admitted that it would be a “major disaster” for Arsenal to lose Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this summer.
The Gabon international has just over a year left on his current contract with the Gunners, and there is yet to be any official word of a potential extension for the forward.
Aubameyang has been Arsenal’s top performer this season, with the 30-year-old having scored 17 goals and made one assist in the Premier League so far this term.
His current contract situation has inevitably led to speculation about his future at the club, with Arsenal keen to avoid losing the forward on a free transfer at the end of next season.
It remains to be seen what the future holds for the attacker in the coming weeks and months – and Merson has admitted that Mesut Ozil’s high wages represent a conundrum for Arsenal as they look to renegotiate terms with Aubameyang.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Merson said: “It would be a major disaster for Arsenal if they lost Aubameyang, however, the decision will be weighed up and at least it will be the club’s decision as to what they do.
“Do they give him £300,000-a-week? I’ve always said they will have a problem until Mesut Ozil leaves the club. Every day he’s there, every other top player will want what he’s on. It’s a huge problem and not a new one.
“If they want to keep Aubameyang they will have to pay him big money, but Arsenal may look at it and think if we give him £300,000-a-week for the next two or three years, is he going to be the same player?
“He’s nearly 31 and by the time he’s 34 he’s not going to be the same player. I don’t care who you are, at 34 you are not the same player.
“Arsenal may also weigh it up asking if they will win the Premier League or get into the top four in the next few years if they pay Aubameyang £300,000-a-week.
“They haven’t actually done it yet with him there, so they may look at it and say it is good business to let him go.
“There’s also the danger of giving him big money, just like they did with Ozil, and then every other player wanting the same.
“It would take you straight back to the Ozil scenario and if you do spend all that money on him and you don’t get into the top four it’s not money well spent.
“It’s a really hard decision and it will all come down to how the club weigh it up.”
Arsenal are currently ninth in the Premier League table and eight points adrift of the top four with a game in hand.
The north London side have been in improved form in recent weeks, with Mikel Arteta’s men having won their last three games in the top flight.