Paul Merson has admitted that Arsenal may be forced to let Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang go in the summer because of his wage demands.
The Gabonese attacker is currently asking for £300k per week and the Gunners are struggling to agree to his demands.
It isn’t that the Gunners cannot afford to pay him that, they are also probably worried the same scenario with Mesut Ozil will play out again.
Arsenal agreed to pay Ozil £350k in 2018 and the German has been struggling to replicate the form that earned him that sort of salary.
Merson reckons that Arsenal will be thinking hard and long about the decision to give Aubameyang that much money.
He claimed that they will be wondering if he will continue his current form for the duration of the new deal he would be offered.
“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,” he told Sky Sports.
“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.”
Barcelona and Inter Milan remain keen on Aubameyang and both teams will be watching his contract situation with anticipation.