Since arriving at the Emirates a little over two years ago, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has established himself as a firm fan favourite among the Arsenal supporters. The Gabonese international has been a prolific goalscorer for the Gunners’ since making the big-money move from Borussia Dortmund.
Aubameyang, so far, has scored 61 goals in 97 appearances for Arsenal. The 30-year-old won the Premier League Golden Boot award last season and also played a key role in the North London outfit’s run to the UEFA Europa League final.
The striker was in fine form this term as well, having scored 20 goals in 32 matches, until all footballing action was suspended due to Coronavirus. But, this could very well turn out to be Aubameyang’s last season with the Gunners.
Aubameyang has just one year left on his contract with Arsenal. Moreover, there is unlikely to be European football on offer at the Emirates next season, leading to speculations surrounding the 30-year-old's future at the club.
In case, Aubameyang does end up leaving the club before next season, here is who Arsenal should look to replace him with, keeping in mind that they are unlikely to offer European football and would be operating on a tight budget as a result.
Moussa Dembele (Lyon)
The former Fulham starlet has made a huge name for himself since leaving England in 2016. Having joined Scottish giants Celtic, Moussa Dembele plundered 51 goals in 94 matches in two years for the club, helping them to a consecutive domestic treble.
Dembele then forced a move back to his homeland in 2018, signing for Olympique Lyon and has carried on in the same vein of form. Having scored 20 times in his debut season, Dembele has already surpassed his tally from last term, bagging 22 goals and assisting 7 more in 42 matches in all competitions.
At just 23, the striker has proven himself to be a force to be reckoned with and is being chased who’s who of Europe. Pace, power, finishing abilities, Dembele has it all and is also well-versed with the demands of European football. Someone worth definitely worth taking a punt on for Arsenal.
Odsonne Edouard (Celtic)
A graduate of the PSG youth academy, Odsonne Edouard moved to Celtic in 2017, initially on loan, before making the move permanent a year later. And the 22-year-old has overtaken the responsibility of being the club’s leading goalscorer since Dembele’s departure a couple of years ago.
Till date, Edouard has scored 60 goals in 126 matches for the Hoops, and is enjoying his most prolific campaign this time out. So far in 2019-20, the Frenchman has already netted 27 goals in 45 games, while setting up 19 more for his teammates, highlighting his ability to score and create in equal measure.
A player similar in style to Dembele, Edouard has a much more imposing physical stature and should be well-suited to the Premier League and is being targeted by a number of top-flight clubs, including Everton. The 22-year-old has also shone in the Europa League this season and all signs are showing that he is ready for the next step in his career.
Jonathan David (Gent)
The 20-year-old might not be that well-known a name among most football fans, but young Jonathan David has been making huge waves in the Belgian top-flight, blowing defences away with his sensational attacking play.
The Canadian striker signed for Gent in January 2018 and has since grown into a pivotal member of the team, enjoying his best season till date in 2019-20. In 40 games this term, David has amassed excellent returns of 23 goals and 18 assists across all competitions. At just 20 years of age, he is a full international for the Canadian national team, scoring 11 goals in only 12 matches.
A versatile operator, David can play as a centre-forward or even slot in as a No. 10, while he has also been used on the flanks on occasions. Given the young and dynamic nature of Arsenal’s attack, David could thrive playing alongside the likes of Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah et al.
Alfredo Morelos (Rangers)
Another player who has been carving out quite a reputation for himself in Scottish football, Rangers’ striker Alfredo Morelos has been in lethal form in front of goal for a number of years now. Having joined the Gers in 2017 from Finnish club HJK Helsinki, the 23-year-old has already amassed 77 goals in 137 matches and was the top scorer in the Scottish Premiership last season.
Morelos has once again been exceptional this term as well, banging in 29 goals and chalking up 10 assists in 46 games. Fourteen of his goals this season have come in the Europa League (qualifiers included), indicating his pedigree. El Bufalo also has made six appearances for the Colombian national team, scoring one goal.
Morelos has had a history of disciplinary problems and temperamental issues in the past, but there is no denying his obvious talent in front of goal. And, considering how brilliantly he has performed in Europe this season, the Colombian international is surely worth taking a look for Arsenal.
Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal)
What if Arsenal already have the right person to take over from Aubameyang in their squad? Indeed, Gabriel Martinelli, at a tender age of 18, has proven himself more than capable of donning the main marksman’s role for Arsenal this season. And should he continue in the same way, the Gunners might not need to look outside to replace their captain.
Martinelli signed for Arsenal only last summer and has had an impactful debut campaign in England. In 26 appearances so far, the Brazilian forward has scored 10 goals and set up 4 more. While he hasn’t gotten a whole lot of opportunities to start matches in the Premier League, the teenager has made the most of his chances in the Europa League, showing that he is unfazed by any challenge.
Able to play on the left or through the centre, Martinelli has already displayed good understanding with his attacking partners at Arsenal and that should only grow with time. Given a chance, the Brazilian could have the same kind of impact that Marcus Rashford has had at Arsenal’s rivals Manchester United.
Feature image courtesy: AFP/ IAN KINGTON