In a recent interview with ESPN, Gabon FA’s President said that Aubameyang should look to move on from Arsenal and sign for a club that has real ambition to win.
“I don’t want to say that Arsenal aren’t ambitious, but Arsenal don’t have ambitions as high as some other clubs as far as Europe is concerned,” Mounguengui told ESPN.
“So if Pierre could secure a contract with a more ambitious club, he’d definitely find his place there.
“On an individual level, we all consider him to be among the best players in the world, but the advice I give to him is to continue to work and to attract the attention of the biggest clubs and the most ambitious clubs.”
He would add later, “Right now, he’s at Arsenal, and he’s won nothing here, so it’s a collective failing.”
We will move past the irony of this statement coming from the Gabonese FA President who is reaping the benefits of and attention from Aubameyang selecting to play for Gabon on an international level over the likes of France and Spain – essentially giving up any ambitions he may have had of winning a World Cup. Keeping in mind the France side that managed to do exactly that two years ago would likely have featured Aubameyang. Instead, we will focus on the Arsenal aspect.
While it is true that Aubameyang has not won any trophies during his time at Arsenal and has had to settle for personal accolades like the Premier League’s Golden Boot, this may be a larger statement on how the general public views “ambition” from clubs and one that is even more fitting with the current times as clubs struggle to plan for the financial losses they will face as a result of this season suspension.
What sort of signs mark “ambition” from a club for many? These days it boils down to one thing and one thing only – money spent. Euros. Pounds. Dollars. Yen. Whichever you prefer. People equate the money you spend as a direct equivalent to how ambitious your club is.
Nevermind that Arsenal moved on from Arsene Wenger, brought in its first new manager in over twenty years, got itself into a Europa League final, were a disastrous slide away from making the top 4 again, produced one of their best transfer windows in recent history, and have found a seemingly impressive and suitable replacement for Unai Emery during the course of Pierre-Emmerick Aubameyang’s time here – it’s not enough. Arsenal haven’t spent enough, nor won enough, and apparently the club therefore doesn’t deserve to have any players better than average.
Is anyone satisfied with this year and their current position in the table? No, and we have had to adjust our bar for season success after the disastrous beginning under Unai Emery. However, Arsenal are far from the first club to suffer woes after a long-term manager has left in recent history. However, to say the club isn’t ambitious enough is all too easy for anyone on the outside looking to score easy points in a debate and, reading between the lines, it does boil down to money spent even if it hasn’t been said out loud.
Arsenal, as a business, often only spend what it brings in. It will occasionally dip into its reserves, but as general practice it has avoided doing that. An aspect that has allowed Arsenal to pay its staff through the beginning of this current pandemic with less worry – unlike Liverpool, Newcastle, or Tottenham who have furloughed many of their employees. There is a bit of pride for a supporter, like myself, to see those efforts made and have it revealed that in a time of clubs being built on unsustainable stilts, Arsenal were built in a more responsible fashion and have funds for a crisis like this.
That doesn’t mean that Arsenal will not be forced to resort to putting some of their staff on furlough in the future, but the fact that they were able to put off doing that for a period of time is extremely commendable.
The game is going to change after all of this. We are going to see clubs built differently, spending done differently, a change in the transfer marketing and player wages, and a change in how money is managed. Arsenal are entering a situation that they haven’t had to deal with for many years. Desperation to get back into the Champions League and reach financial security is affecting fans differently. There are many that want to see Arsenal spend big money this offseason, suggesting targets in the window that could see Arsenal spend 200million effortlessly.
Personally, I am glad to see the club looking to build quality, yet within their means. There will be a day where Arsenal have to dip into their savings. That day is likely approaching, but on the back of Arsenal producing one of the best Summer Transfer Windows in the Premier League, having to replace a manager, having a large gap in player age between successful veterans and exciting prospects, everyone needs to give Arsenal real time to achieve their ambitions, not expect them to race to the finish line. If that doesn’t fit Aubameyang’s expectations, career plan, or future – the club and Auba should work out what is best for each other.
It has been, seemingly, a great relationship between Arsenal and Aubameyang – throwing in this suggestion and potentially creating division isn’t needed. Everything will work itself out in the end.