Paul Merson suggests Arsenal may need to let Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leave this summer

Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang

Paul Merson fears Arsenal may be forced to sanction the departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this summer.

Aubameyang is out of contract in summer 2021, although the Gunners remain hopeful of persuading the 30-year-old to sign fresh terms.

However, ex-Arsenal midfielder Merson believes the case of Mesut Ozil has set a difficult precedent for his former club.

Ozil signed a lucrative new deal worth £300,000 in 2018, raising the wage ceiling at the Emirates Stadium.

And Merson is concerned that Arsenal could still be paying huge sums to Aubameyang once he is in his mid-30s.

“It would be a major disaster for Arsenal if they lost Aubameyang, however, the decision will be weighed up and at least it will be the club's decision as to what they do," he told Sky Sports.

“Do they give him £300,000-a-week? I've always said they will have a problem until Mesut Ozil leaves the club. Every day he's there, every other top player will want what he's on. It's a huge problem and not a new one.

“If they want to keep Aubameyang they will have to pay him big money, but Arsenal may look at it and think if we give him £300,000-a-week for the next two or three years, is he going to be the same player? 

"He's nearly 31 and by the time he's 34 he's not going to be the same player. I don't care who you are, at 34 you are not the same player.

“Arsenal may also weigh it up asking if they will win the Premier League or get into the top four in the next few years if they pay Aubameyang £300,000-a-week. They haven't actually done it yet with him there, so they may look at it and say it is good business to let him go.

“There's also the danger of giving him big money, just like they did with Ozil, and then every other player wanting the same. It would take you straight back to the Ozil scenario and if you do spend all that money on him and you don't get into the top four it's not money well spent.

“It's a really hard decision and it will all come down to how the club weigh it up.”

READ MORE

What REALLY happened to Ronaldo before the 1998 World Cup Final – in his own words

Best football books of the past year to keep you busy during isolation

If the Premier League season finishes late, how will next season work?