Jamie Carragher has discussed Arsenal’s dilemma surrounding the future of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and believes the club should keep the forward – even if it means losing him for nothing next summer.
The Gabon international’s future has been a source of debate in recent months as he prepares to enter the final year of his contract at the Emirates, with Inter Milan, Barcelona and Chelsea reportedly monitoring developments ahead of a summer move.
Aubameyang has scored prolifically since signing from Borussia Dortmund two-and-a-half years ago, winning a share of the Premier League‘s Golden Boot last season and currently sitting on 20 goals for the season so far.
Carragher believes the Gunners must look at the immediate implications of selling their club captain, admitting it would be a huge blow to the club’s hopes of securing a top-four finish next season.
“It’s interesting the Arsenal situation because towards the end of my career at Liverpool we were in this situation quite a lot where you are just missing out on the top four,” Carragher told Sky Sports The Football Show.
“Yes, it’s okay having rules in place and Arsenal saying: ‘We never let a player go on a Bosman ruling’. However, if you are Mikel Arteta, I would be looking at it and thinking, even if he goes for nothing next year, have we got more chance of getting in the Champions League for next season if Aubameyang stays, and that’s the decision they’ve got to make.”
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Carragher believes the 30-year-old is ‘too good’ for an Arsenal side who look set to miss out on Champions League qualification once more, but warned the north London side that goalscorers of Aubameyang’s calibre are not easy to replace.
“At this stage, there’s no doubt about it, Aubameyang is too good for Arsenal,” he added.
“We had that, at times, at Liverpool with maybe Luis Suarez and certain players that you have in your squad. You are desperate to keep hold of them because you are thinking as a club you want to build around this player and if that player goes you feel like you’re starting again.
“That’s the problem you have trying to get back into the top four and establishing yourselves again as Arsenal are trying to do.
“That will be a decision for them. It’s okay saying if he doesn’t want to be there let him go. I hear all this but it’s not easy when you are at that club and you have a player of such star quality, who is probably nailed on this season and next season to be there or thereabouts for the golden boot.
“It’s not easy to find goal scorers. I’d keep Aubameyang and see what you could do. Could you bring players in around that, hopefully have a successful season and maybe in the next 12 months convince him to stay?
“If not, I think it gives Arsenal a greater chance of getting back into the top four and that’s where they need to be.”