As seems to be a growing feature at Arsenal in recent years, the targeting of a designated striker by the club has ultimately proved unsuccessful.
The name of Jamie Vardy can be added to a list that already includes Luis Suarez, Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain and now Arsene Wenger is potentially veering down a path he has walked numerous times before – signing someone largely unproven with potential, who may just happen to develop into a valuable gem.
Marouane Chamakh, Gervinho, Yaya Sanogo and even Olivier Giroud all arguably fit this bill and none have ultimately proved the sharpshooter that the Gunners have been lacking since the departure of Robin van Persie.
However, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remains on the market, with recent reports suggesting that a potential switch to Manchester City has hit the skids because of excessive wage demands and agent fees.
Arsenal have typically been fairly cautious with their money in recent years too, both in terms of transfer fees and wages. But this may be the season for a change in attitude, especially with the extra finances available through the new television deal.
The Gunners are 11/2 to win the Premier League in 2016/17 and 4/7 to take up their customary position in the top four again. Yet even the latter could be jeopardy if a significant striker purchase isn’t made.
Here are three reasons why it would be worth breaking the bank to sign Aubameyang:
The capture of Granit Xhaka suggests that Wenger wants a more-rounded deep-lying midfielder capable of being strong and tenacious in the tackle, but also able to do a better job at linking defence and attack.
Aubameyang’s pace is his biggest asset and one of his maim developments under Thomas Tuchel at Dortmund in the past season has been more variety in his movement leading the line.
He has always been keen to run in behind and because of this opposing defences often drop deem as a means of coping with his rapid acceleration. Doing this for Arsenal will make the middle of the pitch bigger, playing to the strengths of the likes of Xhaka, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.
Arsenal looked especially dangerous in the latter half of last season when Danny Welbeck was fit to perform in the lone striker role.
Welbeck, Sanchez and Alex Iwobi formed a mobile and dynamic front three, who regularly interchanged positions, occupied spaces and drifted laterally across the pitch, making them tougher to mark.
Aubameyang has previously played out wide and so has the capacity to be as flexible with his positioning. This fluidity is something Arsenal certainly don’t get from Giroud, who is more of an old-school central striker.
The one weak point of Welbeck’s game tends to be his ruthlessness in front of goal. His best return in a league season is nine.
Aubameyang has reached double figures in the past five Bundesliga seasons, netting 25 times last term. Having just celebrated his 27th birthday, he is potentially just about to enter his peak years too.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.