Arsenal’s sale of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Barcelona may have deprived them of a good few goals – but Mikel Arteta’s side remain well placed to secure a top-four finish.
The Gabon striker completed a free transfer to Barca on Wednesday having been frozen out of the Gunners squad.
Yet the Gunners are evolving just nicely under Arteta and have a game in a hand on fourth-placed Manchester United.
You can get 3/1 with Betfair for Arsenal to finish in the Champions League this season following the loss of Aubameyang, whose departure came after he was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy following a disciplinary breach.
“I think it was a problem just with him [Arteta],” the 32-year-old said at his Nou Camp unveiling on Thursday.
“He made the decision. I can’t say much more. He wasn’t happy, I stayed very calm and that’s it.”
Aubameyang was released from his Arsenal contract on Monday having not made an appearance following the disciplinary issue in December.
The former Borussia Dortmund forward had previously been dropped in March and missed the win over north London rivals Tottenham because of a “breach of pre-match protocol”.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta when asked about Erling Haaland: “Haaland? Today we're occupied and very excited with Aubameyang, who will score goals here. In June we will try to strengthen the team even more and we are on the right track”. #FCB pic.twitter.com/eWRXHu9JQo— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) February 3, 2022
But he is hopeful of resurrecting his career at Barca ahead of a possible debut against Atletico Madrid on Sunday.
“It’s true that they were complicated months and I think football has these things sometimes,” added Aubameyang.
“But if I have to say something about this topic [leaving Arsenal], it is that I never wanted to do anything wrong on my part, but I think this is the past and I want to think about the present.”
Aubameyang scored 92 goals in 163 appearances for Arsenal following his £56m move from Dortmund in January 2018, helping the Gunners win the 2020 FA Cup to give Arteta silverware in his first season at the helm.
His Barcelona contract runs until June 2025 and includes an option to agree a departure in June 2023, plus a buyout clause of 100 million euros (£83.4m).
Aubameyang said he is “ready to do everything possible” to transform Barca’s fortunes after they were knocked out of this season’s Champions League.
“I am mentally ready because I have clear ideas in my head. I will give it my very best from any position on the field,” he said.
“I have spoken to [Barcelona head coach] Xavi and he wants me to be centre forward, but if he ever wants me to play on the wings, I will do that no problem at all.”