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Report: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's Arsenal Future Unclear, 'Desperate' for UCL

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistDecember 31, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC at Emirates Stadium on December 29, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future at Arsenal is reportedly in doubt, with the player said to be keen to play UEFA Champions League football next season.Β 

According to Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph, new Gunners boss Mikel Arteta faces a serious challenge to keep the Gabon international at the Emirates Stadium.

"He has 18 months remaining on his contract and is desperate to play Champions League football again," said Law. "That is looking increasingly unlikely to happen at Arsenal next season, even though the club still believe they have time to qualify."

Law reported Aubameyang has promised to give everything he can to the Gunners before a possible summer departure. The 30-year-old was handed the club captaincy earlier in the campaign after the armband was stripped from Granit Xhaka.

Arteta would have been delighted with the forward's performance on Sunday in the 2-1 loss to Chelsea. The striker opened the scoring, before the Gunners eventually let the game slip away late on:

Sky Sports Premier League @SkySportsPL

πŸ‘Œ PIERRE THE POACHER! Nice corner from @Arsenal and after an excellent flick-on Aubameyang is on hand to head home! πŸ“Ί Watch on Sky Sports Premier League πŸ“± Follow #ARSCHE here: https://t.co/0VwpIUZxNZ πŸ“² Download the @SkySports app! https://t.co/ZSnqrzYYOv

Aubameyang was used on the left wing in the match and was happy to work back and put in a defensive effort, per The Tactical Times:

The Tactical Times @Tactical_Times

Aubameyang's first half touch map vs. Chelsea 26 touches 1 goal 2 shots (1 on target) 2 interceptions 2 tackles (1 won) 2 blocks 12/14 accurate passes 2 losses of possession Involved. https://t.co/OOK4JEzLFq

Since arriving at Arsenal in January 2018, the former Borussia Dortmund man has been one of the most dependable finishers in the Premier League.Β 

Aubameyang is renowned for his raw speed and acceleration, although he's showed off his composure in front of goal frequently in English football's top flight. Last season, he was the joint-top scorer in the Premier League, sharing the accolade with Liverpool pair Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane with 22 goals.

If he was to leave, Aubameyang would leave a significant void in the Arsenal squad. Per the Premier League Twitter account, nobody has been more prolific than the Gunners skipper since his arrival in England:

Premier League @premierleague

Top #PL goal-scorers since @Aubameyang7's debut: 45 - Aubameyang 44 - Vardy & Salah 37 - Kane https://t.co/QHBVFiCtax

Arteta has a number of issues to resolve on the field in the early weeks of his Arsenal tenure. Off the pitch, finding a way to convince Aubameyang to stay at the club could be his biggest challenge.

The striker has at least spoken highly of the work being done by the new boss:

James Benge @jamesbenge

Aubameyang in his programme notes: "[Arteta has] only been in charge for a few days but we've seen a bit difference already. We needed someone who would come in and shake the whole squad up. Someone with new ideas, with a new message."

For the player, a desire to play in the Champions League is understandable given he's an elite forward in the peak years of his career.

With Arsenal 12th in the Premier League at the moment, it appears unlikely they will be involved in the competition in 2020-21. With that in mind, not to mention Aubameyang's contract situation, it may prove difficult to hold on to their star man over the summer months.