The Gunners have been searching for a striker seemingly all transfer window but as the deadline creeps closer they are seemingly no closer to finding one this month
Few fans questioned the decision given the Gabon international’s poor form in front of goal for much of this season, as well as now simply being accustomed to their manager’s strict disciplinarian approach.
While the decision to strip the 32-year-old of the armband following his latest disciplinary breach in early December was still the right-call in the eyes of the Gunners faithful, their options are up front are now looking particularly bleak.
Things were fine in the immediate aftermath of the controversy, in fact Arsenal actually became a more prolific team with Aubameyang out of the side.
In the remaining five contests Arsenal had to play over the course of December, the Gunners bagged 19 goals – notching five in one game on two occasions against Sunderland and Norwich respectively.
But January has presented a different picture, one that depicts a notably blunt Arsenal side that have not scored a goal in any competition since Bukayo Saka’s effort during the 2-1 home defeat by Manchester City on New Year’s Day.
The timing of Aubameyang’s exile came weeks before the opening of the January transfer window and yet, the Gunners are now staring down the barrel of ending the month without a replacement.
That could be deemed excusable if the club already had a striker in-house waiting in the wings for their moment to take over the mantle, but the reality is far from it.
Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah are the only two remaining strikers left at the club other than Aubameyang himself, and the drop-off in standard is obvious.
To put Aubameyang’s influence at Arsenal into context, since the Gabon international arrived in north London his Premier League goals have been worth more points than any other player’s in the division.
The 32-year-old has won a whopping 53 points with his 68 Premier League goals, three more points than the nearest contender in Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.
It is therefore a frightening thought for any member of the Arsenal faithful that the clock could strike midnight on Monday without anyone brought in to replace that influence.
Simply signing any warm body is not going to be enough and Arsenal will be reluctant to spend big on any player they do not view as having the ability to lead the line for years to come, but desperate times may call for desperate measures.
Alexander Isak and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are just two names that have been touted for a possible switch to the Emirates after the Gunners missed out on their main target Dusan Vlahovic to Juventus.
From Aubameyang’s perspective, his days as an Arsenal player look to be numbered with both Barcelona and Juventus plotting late loan moves for the 32-year-old until the end of the season.
Lacazette and Nketiah both boast contracts that expire come the end of the season, forcing Arsenal into a corner where other clubs are well aware of their desperation for a new forward to bolster their front line.
Aubameyang himself was a January deadline day signing back in 2018 and Arsenal may have to pull a similarly spectacular rabbit out of the hat this time around four years later.