When Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signed for Arsenal, every Gunners fan knew that a stone-cold, world-class finisher was joining their ranks from Borussia Dortmund.
Since his arrival at the Emirates he has elevated his position as one of the best strikers in world football.
His goal-scoring record at Dortmund was nothing short of incredible: 213 appearances, 141 goals and 36 assists between 2013 and 2018 in all competitions.
Joining Arsenal during January in 2018, he simply has not missed a beat. His 81 appearances have yielded 52 goals and 11 assists to make him of one of if not the most important player at Mikel Arteta’s disposal.
His pace, power and amazing fitness levels put defenders under constant pressure for the full 90 minutes, something not many strikers in the world have in their kit bag.
His efficiency in front of goal has been superb from day one at the Emirates. During 2018 he managed 13 games, scoring ten Premier League goals, a decent start to life in England.
In his first full season the following year under then Arsenal manager Unai Emery he played 36 league games with a respectable total of 22 goals on his way to claiming the golden boot as the top scorer in the division in a three-way tie with Liverpool pair Mo Salah and Sadio Mane.
So far this season Aubameyang already has 20 goals to his name from just 32 appearances, which shows Arsenal’s heavy reliance on the striker. With his goal against Leicester City last time out he thrust himself into rarefied air.
He reached 50 Premier League goals quicker than Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, a feat that has him sixth on the all-time list while at the same time became only the second ever Gunner to score 20-plus goals in consecutive seasons behind Henry again, who managed that feat for an incredible five consecutive years, a record that is unlikely to be beaten any time soon.
Any player who can have his name mentioned in the same breath as the Arsenal great clearly has immense talent. While I am in no way saying he is as good as Henry, his stats in an Arsenal shirt show that he could be on his way to being close, although in most fans’ minds no one could ever come close to the Highbury talisman.
Aubameyang’s Premier League stats make for great reading and some may surprise. Out of his 52 goals only six have been penalties, which shows that a majority come from open play, not from the spot like others.
His overall shooting percentage sits at 46 per cent, which is good by anyone’s standards.
An additional quality is Aubameyang’s durability. The man simply does not get injured for Arsenal or miss games (his three-game red card suspension this year aside), which given the team’s current predicament is a great sense of relief not only for fans but for Mikel Arteta, who knows he can count on his captain on a regular basis.
He is fit and willing to run and also play slightly out of position at times, as he is sometimes deployed on the left of the attacking three by Arteta. The biggest thing is he does it with that big, infectious smile on his face.
The fact that he was made captain after the Granit Xhaka debacle shows you just how highly regarded he is by his teammates and manager, not only for his talent but also his attitude towards what Arteta is trying to accomplish.
Aubameyang sits second on the golden boot list on 20, just two behind Jamie Vardy, and you would be a fool to think that he could not reel him in. His importance to this Arsenal side cannot be underestimated, which makes the team’s need to sign him to a new contract even more important as Arsenal do not want another Robin van Persie situation as that was just ugly in every aspect.
There is a genuine hope that he will re-sign and what a boost that could prove to be for the fan-base as he is one of the best strikers in world football.
Arsenal and their board cannot drop the ball on this deal and let him walk out that door. As has been reported, Aubameyang wants a three-year deal worth £250,000 (A$453,000) a week to stay – money that will be incredibly well spent, just ask any Arsenal fan.