Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - what is going wrong with Arsenal's star striker?
Sat - December 5, 2020
On the afternoon of September 15, the shoppers in Arsenal’s flagship store were treated to an unexpected surprise. As they were browsing the shelves, the television screens in the shop suddenly cut to a live feed from within the home dressing room at the Emirates Stadium.
The stream showed a table in the middle of the room, on which there was an hourglass, a pen and a piece of paper. Then came a captain’s armband, followed by a superhero mask. Eventually, after a few more minutes, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also arrived, to announce to the fans - in live time - that he had finally signed his new contract.
Across the world, more than 250,000 people tuned in to view Aubameyang’s announcement. Millions more viewers have since watched it back. The stream was the result of weeks of planning by club staff, all desperate to maximise the impact of a deal that symbolised a new era of positivity under Mikel Arteta.
The underlying message from Arsenal was clear: that Aubameyang is a global star, worthy of a groundbreaking approach to something as straightforward as a footballer extending the terms of his employment. This was not just any old contract signing, Arsenal were implying. This was the contract signing of the decade, the statement deal that meant so much to the future of the club.
It all put considerable pressure on Aubameyang and, although he has never been afraid to embrace his own stardom, expectations were raised even higher of Arsenal’s FA Cup final-winning hero. It is an unfortunate reality for him and the club that, so far this season, he has not come close to reaching them.