Arsenal are over the moon following the official extension of Pierre Emeric Aubamenyang’s contract. The Gunners have been locked in discussion with the Gabonese forward on an extension and there have been fears in many quarters that the star striker could follow the steps of former players that ran down their deals to a year left, refused new deals and forced the hands of the club to sell them to local rivals; Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.
But now that Aubamenyang has pledged his love and loyalty to the Gunners by signing an extension against all odds, the Gunners need to prepare for the future and it starts now. For the immediate future, Arsenal look assured and secured in attack with the Gabonese and Alexandre Lacazette who reports suggest that is close to being offered a new deal rather than cashed on.
That is a good sign as the friendship and partnership continue but for how long, seeing both players are above 30 and closing in on 30 respectively. This means the club needs to start building the young ones that would take over from them.
Thursdays are for throwbacks and a travel down the memory lane would not be a bad idea afterall. When Henry left, Arsenal had young Robin Van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor to call on. Even at that, former manager, Arsene Wenger added Eduardo Da Silva to the mix but when Van Persie left, there was no one to turn to. Arsenal had to buy two new strikers in the persons of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud.
History is not just there to be told but for us to learn from. Aubamenyang’s stay means Arsenal do not have to worry about a top class striker for the next two seasons at least barring any serious injury. This leeway gives the club the needed time to bring in youngsters and forge them into stars. On ground, Arsenal have young English striker, Eddie Nketiah who seems to be held highly by manager, Mikel Arteta.
He is even seen as a huge competition for the more experienced Alexander Lacazette. At just 21, he can only get better and learning from the likes of Aubamenyang and Lacazette would only help him hone his skills more. By the time Aubamenyang is done with his current contract, he should be able to receive the mantle of goal scoring leadership from the Gabonese.
Folarin Balogun is another highly rated youngster. At just 19, he still has a lot to learn and no better tutor than Arteta and no better mentor than Aubamenyang and Lacazette. It might also not be a bad idea to bring in a raw talent from a modest club and see him rise through the ranks, preparing him for the huge task of replace the incumbent duo when their time is up.
Odsonne Eduoard of Celtic readily comes to mind. Great things have been spoken of the 22 year old French striker and greater things he could do in the colours of Arsenal but the Gunners need to move in now that he is available and affordable. He is never going to be cheaper.
While we enjoy the moment, we must prepare the future to keep the strong team Arteta is trying to build stronger.