The Gunners could solve one of their biggest problems this season in the the transfer market.
A lot of things have gone wrong for Arsenal this season.
The signing of Willian, constant individual errors and and a two-month winless run between November and December that has more or less cost them their chance of finishing in the Premier League top six all stand among the worst.
Perhaps the most surprising of all the things to have not gone to plan though is the form of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
When the Gabon striker signed a contract extension in September of last year it was widely hailed as a fantastic piece of business for the Gunners to have kept one of the best strikers in Europe on their books.
Sadly though since signing that deal it hasn’t really worked out for the 31-year-old.
Despite finishing in at least the top two of the Golden Boot rankings in each of his first two full seasons in the Premier League, Aubameyang is all the way down in joint 18th in the division’s scoring rankings heading into the final day of this campaign.
So what has gone wrong?
There can be no doubting that there have been plenty of mitigating circumstances this season. Disciplinary issues, malaria and family troubles have all played their part in what has by his own admission “been a bad year” for Aubameyang.
But regardless of that several unsympathetic theories have been circulating as to why his numbers have dropped so drastically. Perhaps the one that has stuck the most is that his motivation has gone since he signed his highly paid contract extension.
“I think there will be a big worry at Arsenal and for Mikel Arteta that they may have another Mesut Ozil situation where they give someone a big contract at £300,000 or £350,000-a-week,” said Jamie Carragher last month.
“Next season and in these coming months that will be going through the manager’s mind.
“Have we got another situation like that? Because what he is producing right now is nowhere near good enough considering how good a player he is and also what Arsenal have invested in him.”
Somewhat ironically in itself the Ozil comparison is quite lazy as the only real similarity between the two is that they accepted big contracts offered to them by the club towards the end of their careers.
There is little to suggest Aubameyang is the disruptive influence the German came to be at the end of his career, and in fact all reports from the club suggest that he has generally been key to keeping spirits high at London Colney this season.
A little digging into the Gabon forward’s goal record reveals perhaps the more accurate explanation of what has gone on this season.
Generally Aubameyang has found himself isolated in matches as Arsenal fail to create many chances for him to score.
Against Crystal Palace on Wednesday night it was more of the same story for the 31-year-old.
The Gunners captain managed just 27 touches on the night – comfortably the lowest of any outfield player who started the match – and had an xG of just 0.2 (as per fbRef).
In fact if you expand his expected goals tally out across the whole season Aubameyang’s xG stands at 10.4, while his actual goals scored this season is only slightly lower at 10.
This would suggest the problem is not the 31-year-old’s scoring ability, but the lack of chances that have been created for him.
While the introduction of Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe to the side has helped Arsenal’s creativity problems somewhat, providing chance creation remains a real problem for the Gunners this season.
With this in mind it’s interesting to note that they are interested in potentially signing Norwich City’s Emiliano Buendia.
The 24-year-old is understood to be among the targets Edu and Mikel Arteta are looking at as an alternative if they are unable to keep Odegaard once his loan spell from Real Madrid comes to an end.
The Argentinian has been outstanding in the Championship this season scoring 15 goals and providing 16 assists in 39 appearances.
This is building on from his form for the Canaries in the 2019/20 campaign where only Kevin De Bryune, Jack Grealish and Trent Alexander-Arnold created more opportunities.
Logic would seem to dictate that signing a player who specialises in forming opportunities for his teammates would be the ideal way to solve Aubameyang’s problems this season.
The Gabon striker is as sharp as ever, and if Arsenal can find a way to give him more regular opportunities to score, then it will be a matter of time before the goals start flowing in again.