Arsenal legend Ian Wright says he couldn’t blame Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang if he wanted to leave the club this summer.
Wright says he is praying that Aubameyang will stay and help manager Mikel Arteta lead the Gunners “to the promised land” – but he admits he would understand if the striker quits the club in a quest for more silverware.
He is about to enter the final year of his contract, and with the 30-year-old having shown no sign of wanting to commit to a new deal, Arsenal must weigh up whether to cash in on him or risk losing him for nothing next summer.
The Gabon international has been Arsenal’s main source of goals since he joined from Borussia Dortmund for £58million in January 2018.
Before the Premier League was suspended due to Covid-19 he was the top flight’s second highest scorer on 17 goals – two behind Leicester’s Jamie Vardy.
But Wright said he would understand if Aubameyang left with silverware in his sights having entered his 30s.
Asked whether he thought Aubameyang would still be at the Emirates next season, Wright told Sporf: “I hope so.
“But if I’m gonna sit here and speak about Aubameyang at the stage of his career that he’s at, maybe wanting to win things, maybe one last chance, and people are saying that Real Madrid are sniffing around him.
“He’s somebody with the way he’s scored goals in his career, he probably wants something to show for it… I know he’s won stuff in Germany.
“But if he did [leave]… if he was somebody that was tempted away, I’m not sure that people could really fault him at this stage.”
Arsenal are in a period of transition under new manager Mikel Arteta, and are ninth in the Premier League with a battle on their hands to qualify for European football next season.
Wright said he believes Arteta will turn the North London side into contenders once again – but is not sure whether the change can come quick enough to tempt Aubameyang to stay.
“You look at Arsenal and the current plight, you have to say we’re going through a transitional period, coming off of Wenger, coming off of Unai Emery and now getting the coach that I believe is going to take us to the promised land,” said the former England striker.
“It depends totally on whether Aubameyang has the patience to wait for this to kick in, but if he didn’t I’m not sure at his age what people could say.
“He’s somebody that deserves to be playing at a level where he’s able to win things.
“Depending on his ambition, his people around him and what they’re saying to him, how much he loves the club – and I know he loves the club immensely – you have to pray that’s going to be enough for him to stay.
“I’m not gonna sit here and say anything other than I wish him all the best with what he does – but I pray to God he stays at Arsenal.”
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