Barcelona are ready to move for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with Arsenal preparing to cover a black hole on their finances this summer. The Gunners are desperate for a return to the Champions League next season after posting losses of £27.1million for the 2018/19 campaign.
The Europa League defeat against Olympiakos – in which Aubameyang scored before missing a late sitter – not only leaves them short of £8m in prize money but also closes a potential route to the Champions League.
Aubameyang, who is the Premier League’s joint-top scorer with Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy, is out of contract at the end of next season.
The Gunners are desperate for him to sign a new contract and are ready to open talks with the Gabon international but may face a squeeze on finances.
Express Sport understands Barca have been keeping a close eye on developments and have got him on their wanted list and believe that they can tempt him to leave with the lure of the Champions League.
Inter Milan have also got the Arsenal captain on their shopping list and could move into pole position if Barca meets Lautaro Martinez’s £94m buyout clause.
Earlier this week, Aubameyang responded to claims on Twitter that he will leave if Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League, tweeting: “Why they talk about what they don’t know.”
Mikel Arteta has admitted the former Borussia Dortmund talisman is crucial to the north Londoners’ plans going forward and that they will do all they can to keep hold of him.
Arteta said: “He’s our most important player. Stats wise there’s no question about the impact that he has on the team.
“So as much as i can and the club can we will try to convince him to stay with us.”
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Aubameyang wasted a crucial opportunity to keep Arsenal in the Europa League on Thursday night, firing wide from close range as the clock ran down.
After the striker posted an emotional Instagram message the following day, club legend Ian Wright urged the 30-year-old to sign a new deal.
“We love you!!! This club loves you. Our fans love you,” Wright replied. “Forget about last night. If you weren’t here with all due respect to the rest of our team we’d be in deep trouble.
“For you to score the amount of goals you are scoring whilst doing all that defending is just incredible!!! (Please stay and sign the ting).”
Aubameyang will be desperate to get Arsenal back on track on Monday night if he’s picked for their FA Cup fifth round visit to Portsmouth.
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