- The former Arsenal striker has had a fantastic start in his La Liga career, scoring eight goals in his first 11 outings
- ‘A gift from heaven’ is how Xavi, the Barcelona manager, described Aubameyang’s stunning start life at Camp Nou
- Arsenal had terminated Aubameyang’s contract 18 months early and given him away for free.
When you consider that Aubameyang has eight goals in 11 appearances since joining Barcelona in January, it’s no surprisethat everyone at Camp Nou is overjoyed with the way their January signing has settled.
It was a win that made major news, and Xavi’s “gift from heaven” was at the centre of it all.
Given the win, Aubameyang took to social media to send a message to those who thought his most wonderful days were behind him following his struggles at Arsenal in the first half of the season.
In Spain, the 30-year-old has been revived. His smile has returned, and the goals are flowing again.
So, did letting him depart in January prove a massive mistake for Arsenal? The answer is simple: no.
AUBAMEYANG’S DEPARTURE FROM ARSENAL WAS A WIN – WIN FOR BOTH CLUBS
This is one of the few times when a transfer goes through without a fuss for everyone involved.
Meanwhile, the north London club’s supporters are confident that the choice was right.
“I’m extremely grateful for what Auba has done,” Mikel Arteta said soon after Aubameyang’s departure.
“The way I see myself in that relationship is the solution, not the problem. I’ve been the solution, 100 per cent. I can look in the eye of anybody.
“The intention all the time is the best and not for me; it’s for the club and the team.
“You have to decide that the best thing to do was let him move on, and now he plays for Barcelona. It ended up the best possible way for everyone, I think.”
Indeed, it isn’t easy to imagine many mutually beneficial transfers.
Going into the transfer window, it was evident that his time with the Gunners was up.
Arteta had already dismissed him for the latest in a long line of disciplinary issues, and he hadn’t played since the 2-1 loss to Everton on December 6.
So, when January came around, it was simply a matter of trying to locate a new club for the striker.
As the month continued, Arsenal’s efforts to find a buyer was fruitless, only for Barcelona to enter the picture with just days to go.
As the deadline drew nearer, the discussions became more heated.
They started as a loan, but due to arguments over what part of Aubameyang’s salaries Barcelona would cover, the talks shifted to a permanent move in the last hours of the window.
When the trade was finally disclosed, many people were surprised to learn that Arsenal had terminated Aubameyang’s contract 18 months early and given him away for free.
Before his leaving, his form was uneven at best, and he was squandering significant opportunities that you would expect him to take with ease.
In his last 40 games for Arsenal, he failed to score in 28 of them across all competitions.
When he was the spearhead of Arteta’s attack, those around him were also battling to locate the net.
However, things had altered radically since Arsenal’s defeat at Goodison Park in December, when Aubameyang made his farewell appearance.
In the Premier League, Arteta’s team has won 31 points out of a possible 39, losing only twice — to Manchester City and Liverpool.
Before Aubameyang’s final appearance at Everton, Arsenal had averaged just 1.2 goals per “We wish him the best, and we move on without any regrets,” Arteta said.
“I prefer to look at all the beautiful things and good times that we had.
“It’s essential to learn and look back at what you could have done better, especially from my side.
“I think [the squad has been] very understanding, they knew what was happening, and it’s a good solution for everyone.”
It was clear that Aubameyang had lost his spark at Arsenal for whatever reason. Game.
Since then, they’ve averaged 2.0 goals per game, with Alexandre Lacazette as the key striker.
They also take more shots (16.8 vs 14.0), have more shots on target (5.4 vs 4.8), and have more touches in the opposition box (31.8 to 23.1).
They currently have 54.0 per cent possession compared to 49.1 per cent previously, and they are averaging 2.4 points per game, up from 1.5 previously.
The improvement in form and outcomes is noticeable, and statistics comparing Aubameyang’s performance before and after his move paint a similar picture.
Aubameyang has found a new lease of life since the switch, and Barcelona is now reaping the advantages of having one of Europe’s most prolific strikers leading their attack.
“Sometimes everyone benefits from a separation,” Aubameyang said on social media earlier this month. “The most important thing is that everyone is happy”