Whether we like it or not, Aubameyang won’t be here forever. His time at Arsenal has been spectacular and his impact undeniable. His signing was the last benevolent gift from Arsene Wenger and it seems as though the much beloved steward of the club had the foresight to understand that the club would go through a rough patch. Aubameyang was his last gift, a pendant to wave off most of the evil that was coming, an evil of much darkness and intensity.
We are going through that evil period now, and while the club has sunk to a dark place, Aubameyang has been crucial to keeping our head barely above water. No one has scored more goals in England than him since he arrived. No one has smiled more, either. Aubameyang is simply an incredible footballer and a great personality. And now his contract is running out.
But whether he signs or not, it is time for us to think about his replacement. Ideally, if he signs, his replacement has to be young enough to be content with limited playing time and impactful enough to deserve being selected in case of suspension or injury. If he doesn’t and he’s sold, his replacement has to be of immediate starting quality and capable of leading the line into the future.
In the previous scenario, our current options are ideal. Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah are two wonderful talents. Both have proven capable of playing in the Premier League and both are of an ideal age. Nketiah is 20. Martinelli is 18. A few more years would see them still not at their prime age. For this scenario, Alexandre Lacazzete is not really needed anymore.
In the latter case, throwing Martinelli or Nketiah into the deep end now is not going to be ideal. This is where Lacazzete can still play a role. But if the Frenchman is sold as well, then Arsenal will need a new striker to lead the line while our striking prodigies continue their development. Profiles of experienced goalscorers like Dries Mertens and Edinson Cavani would be perfect.
Everything depends on if Aubameyang will sign and on the level of trust placed in the likes of Nketiah and Martinelli.
Aubameyang’s successor likely plays for the club already and it’s only a matter of time, circumstance and choice before he becomes apparent.