Arsenal’s most anticipated signing of the transfer window so far has been confirmed, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signing a contract extension that lasts until 2023. The Gabonese striker has penned a deal worth £250,000 a week if reports are to believed.
Understandably, Arsenal fans are ecstatic. Signed from Borussia Dortmund for £56 million, Aubameyang has been a revelation since joining the club in January 2018. After scoring 10 goals in his first 13 league games, Aubameyang finished as joint top goalscorer in the league during the 18/19 season and came joint second in the goalscoring standings last campaign in an Arsenal team devoid of any real creativity, which is some feat.
He has scored 72 goals and assisted another 15 in 111 games for the club. He scored braces against Manchester City and Chelsea as Arsenal lifted the FA Cup last season. He’s the current club captain after Granit Xhaka lost the armband following his meltdown against Crystal Palace.
Don’t get me wrong, Aubameyang is one of the fulcrums of this Arsenal side. He’s the focal point. Because of this, the Gabonese forward is adored by the Arsenal faithful. Rightfully so, because his goals have been one of the only sources of positivity for the club in recent periods.
This means that Aubameyang is an Emirates cult hero, in the same vein as Cazorla, Ozil, Ramsey and Sanchez. He’s unmistakably been one of the best Arsenal players of the Emirates Era. But the first LEGEND of the Emirates Era? Of course not.
The bare minimum requirement to be even considered as an Arsenal legend, in my eyes at least, is 100 goals for the club. That’s not even considering other factors such as trophies won or impact on the club. There are some legends, such as Adams, Henry and Bergkamp that truly changed what Arsenal are and what the club stood for.
For me, in order to be considered an Arsenal legend, you need more than one FA Cup. While Aubameyang arguably won us the competition last season, it’s simply not enough. The 31-year-old is yet to even play in the Champions League for the club, never mind be involved in a title challenge. A Premier League or major European trophy win should be the bare minimum for any Arsenal player to be considered a legend. Aubameyang hasn’t won either.
His time at the club hasn’t been entirely covered in glory, either. While his signing has been one of Arsenal’s best in recent years, there have been lows. The striker has missed some sitters, including a penalty against Tottenham which gave them Champions League football at Arsenal’s expense, and more infamously, that 6-yard miss against Olympiacos in the Europa League Round-of-32 last season.
In saying this, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Aubameyang’s missed his window of opportunity when it comes to becoming a club legend. By signing his contract extension, Aubameyang has given himself at least three more years to become a club legend. There’s still time yet.
Now, while Aubameyang’s contract renewal meant Arsenal’s number 14 turned down offers from Inter Milan and more interestingly, Barcelona. Due to this, many Arsenal fans believe the man known as Auba is here for the long term. The man has said it himself, he wants to become an Arsenal legend.
This has led fans to judge Aubameyang in higher regards than Van Persie, Sanchez and Fabregas, players who are all on a similar level of quality with the 31-year-old. While they left when the going got tough at the club, Aubameyang stayed. He rejected trophies, more money, Champions League football and the opportunity to play with some of the world’s best players to stay with us. Why? Because he believes in what Mikel Arteta’s trying to build at the club. It genuinely feels as if he isn’t done yet here.
No, Aubameyang isn’t an Arsenal legend right now. There is still a lot he needs to do at the club to attain such a status. Carry on this impeccable goalscoring form, leadership and win a couple more trophies, however, and he could very well be close to becoming one – the first of the Emirates era.