Euro round-up: Barca snatch last-gasp draw, Dortmund close gap

A 96th minute header from substitute Luuk De Jong saw Barcelona rescue a 2-2 draw away at city rivals Espanyol in LaLiga on Sunday.

Both sides had a man sent off in the closing stages, with Espanyol looking set for a first league victory over Barca in 16 years before De Jong turned in Adama Traore’s cross to salvage a point.

Xavi Hernandez’s side moved back into the fourth and final Champions League spot as a result, level on 39 points with Atletico Madrid.

Pedri shows his dejection against Espanyol
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Pedri shows his dejection against Espanyol

It had looked like Barca would be in for a comfortable evening when they took the lead inside the first two minutes, Pedri turning in Jordi Alba’s cross from close range.

Ferran Torres and Traore both went close for the visitors but they were pegged back on the stroke of halftime as Sergi Darder curled an effort in from the edge of the box after good work from Raul de Tomas.

Darder then returned the favour as he sent De Tomas away over the top for a goal that looked to have won the game for the hosts.

Tempers flared late on as Gerard Pique and Nico Melamed both saw red following a coming together off the ball before De Jong’s late effort saw the spoils shared.

Serie A: AC Milan go top, Roma lose more ground

MILAN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 13: Rafael Leao of AC Milan slides in to join Mike Maignan and team mates after scoring to give the side a 1-0 lead during the Serie A match between AC Milan and UC Sampdoria at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on February 13, 2022 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images)
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Rafael Leao celebrates scoring AC Milan’s winner against Sampdoria

AC Milan surged to the top of Serie A with a 1-0 victory over Sampdoria that moved them a point above Inter Milan. Goalkeeper Mike Maignan set up Rafael Leao’s winning goal in the eighth minute.

The France international sent a long kick from outside his penalty area to feed Leo who controlled the ball on the left flank before moving past defender Bartosz Bereszynski to beat Sampdoria goalkeeper Wladimiro Falcone.

It was the 10th goal of the season for the Portugal forward in his 100th appearance for the Rossoneri. Striker Olivier Giroud, who scored both goals in the game against Inter, had his second-half header from close range fingertipped over by Falcone.

AC Milan top the table with 55 points, one clear of Inter in second with Napoli another point back after they shared a 1-1 draw on Saturday. Inter, however, still have a game in hand.

Meanwhile, Bryan Cristante scored a 94th-minute equaliser to rescue a 2-2 Serie A draw for AS Roma at Sassuolo on Sunday, as Jose Mourinho’s side lost more ground in the race for European qualification.

Another league stalemate leaves them seventh with 40 points, two behind Lazio and five behind Juventus in fourth, who are playing later.

“If you had asked me at the start, I would not have wanted a draw, but in the 90th minute, definitely,” Mourinho told DAZN.

Bryan Cristante celebrates after making it 2-2
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Bryan Cristante celebrates after making it 2-2

“I can compare this match to defeats we had earlier in the season against Verona, Venezia and Bologna. We had chances to draw those games and could have had three points more with three draws.

“It isn’t the result we wanted, but if nothing else we haven’t lost in the last four in Serie A, we have got eight points.”

A Tammy Abraham penalty gave the capital club the lead at the end of the first half, but a mistake from goalkeeper Rui Patricio led to a Chris Smalling own goal for the equaliser, before Hamed Traore completed the turnaround with a well-taken strike.

However, Sassuolo defender Gian Marco Ferrari picked up a second yellow card with 12 minutes remaining and Roma capitalised deep in stoppage time through a Cristante header.

Danilo scored a stoppage-time equaliser to rescue a 1-1 Serie A draw for Juventus at Atalanta and earn a point that could prove crucial to the Bianconeri’s top-four ambitions.

Dusan Vlahovic reacts to a missed chance
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Dusan Vlahovic reacts to a missed chance

The Brazil international headed in from a corner in the 92nd minute, cancelling out a long-range thunderbolt from Ruslan Malinovskyi that had put Atalanta on the verge of reclaiming fourth place.

Both sides had their chances in a gripping encounter in Bergamo, as Atalanta goalkeeper Marco Sportiello denied Dusan Vlahovic with a superb save and Hans Hateboer hit the bar for the hosts.

Juve remain fourth on 46 points, two ahead of Atalanta, but Gian Piero Gasperini’s side have a game in hand.

Elsewhere, bottom two Genoa and Salernitana played out a 1-1 draw that did little to help either side hopes of survival, leaving them six and nine points adrift of the safety zone respectively.

Cagliari earned a 1-1 draw at Empoli that took the 18th-placed Sardinians level with Venezia above them on 21 points, while midtable Hellas Verona hammered Udinese 4-0.

Bundesliga: Dortmund cuts Bayern’s lead to six points

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Highlights of the Bundesliga match between Union Berlin and Borussia Dortmund

Marco Reus scored twice to lead Borussia Dortmund to a 3-0 win at Union Berlin and cut Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga lead to six points.

It also went some way to answering mounting criticism after Dortmund’s 5-2 loss at home to Bayer Leverkusen the previous Sunday, which had allowed Bayern to pull nine points clear.

But the leader’s surprise 4-2 loss at promoted Bochum on Saturday gave Dortmund added incentive to claim its first league win at Union at the third attempt.

Reus opened the scoring in the 18th minute when Mahmoud Dahoud played him in to shoot low through Andreas Luthe’s legs.

Reus scored again seven minutes later when Donyell Malen held off Robin Knoche and Bastian Oczipka to play him through. The Dortmund captain rounded the Union goalkeeper before finishing from a narrow angle.

Raphael Guerreiro scored the visitors’ third from close range in the 71st minute.

Dortmund won without injured forward Erling Haaland due to muscular problems and the club said Gio Reyna did not play because of illness, one game after the United States midfielder returned from a hamstring injury that had sidelined him for five months.

Hoffenheim jumped to fifth by beating relegation-threatened Arminia Bielefeld 2-0 in the late game.

Ligue 1: Marseille consolidate second place

Arkadiusz Milik netted a spectacular overhead kick goal to hand Marseille a late 2-1 away win at struggling Metz on Sunday as they consolidated second place in Ligue 1.

Milik was a surprise omission from the starting line-up but wasted no time after coming on to deliver a spectacular finish, receiving the ball on his chest with his back to goal and scoring a stunning winner eight minutes from time.

New signing Cedric Bakambu put Marseille ahead after 26 minutes as they moved onto 46 points, 13 behind runaway leaders Paris St Germain.

Marseille are now four ahead of third-placed Nice, who lost at Olympique Lyonnais on Saturday.

Defeat for Metz leaves them second from bottom.

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Euro: Auba makes winning Barca start; Dortmund thrashed; Messi on target

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came off the bench to make a winning start to his Barcelona career as his new side produced a clinical performance to beat Atletico Madrid 4-2 and move into La Liga’s top four.

Barca, who saw off the champions by scoring four goals from their only four shots on target, dominated every part of the game from the beginning and were unperturbed when Yannick Carrasco opened the scoring on the counter eight minutes into the first half.

Jordi Alba got the equaliser two minutes later with a magnificent volley from a Dani Alves cross and Gavi headed Barca in front (21) after some neat play by Adama Traore, who was making his second debut for the club following his transfer from Wolves last month.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in action for Barcelona
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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in action for Barcelona

Ronald Araujo extended the hosts’ lead before half-time (42), striking home on the rebound from inside the six-yard box after Gerard Pique’s header hit the bar.

Alves scored their fourth right after the break (49), smashing home a low shot from the edge of the box.

Atletico coach Diego Simeone made four substitutions and former Barca striker Luis Suarez reduced the deficit (58), heading a loose ball into the net from close range.

Aubameyang replaced Traore three minutes later to make his debut before Alves spoiled his man-of-the-match performance when he was given a straight red card for a poor challenge on Carrasco (69).

Despite being a man down, Barca held on to move above Atletico into fourth place in La Liga and extend their unbeaten run in the league to seven matches.

‘That’s the Barcelona we want to see’

Usually known for being rock-solid, Atletico’s defence has leaked 30 goals in 22 league games so far, five more than they conceded during their entire title-winning campaign last season.

Lacking their usual discipline and prone to mistakes, they have now let in the most goals of the top 10 La Liga sides and have won only three of their last 10 games in all competitions.

Barcelona exploited Atletico’s fragility on the flanks, with Alves and Traore both excelling for Xavi Hernandez’s much-improved side.

“Today we have seen the Barca that we want,” Alba told reporters.

“We have played with a lot of intensity, and it is a game to be very proud of in such a difficult year.”

Elsewhere in La Liga, Real Madrid extended their lead at the top to six points with a 1-0 win over struggling Granada. Marco Asensio got the game’s only goal.

Sixth-placed Villarreal beat third-placed Real Betis 2-0 thanks to goals late in either half from Pau Torres and Etienne Capoue.

Valencia‘s winless streak in the league reached five games after they were held by Real Sociedad to a 0-0 draw.

Bundesliga: Dortmund’s title hopes fade further with heavy defeat

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Highlights of the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen

Borussia Dortmund were thrashed 5-2 at home by Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga as their hopes of catching leaders Bayern Munich slipped yet further away.

The defeat left second-placed Dortmund on 43 points, nine behind Bayern after the champions beat RB Leipzig 3-2 on Saturday. Leverkusen stayed third but reduced the gap with Dortmund to five points.

The hosts got off to a nightmare start when they fell behind to a Manuel Akanji own goal in the 10th minute, but they soon levelled when Leverkusen’s Jeremie Frimpong also fired into his own net.

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Highlights of the Bundesliga match between Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig

Leverkusen restored their lead in the 20th minute through Florian Wirtz following a flowing counterattack and further increased their advantage with a sizzling free-kick from Robert Andrich in the 28th.

The visitors quickly killed off any hopes of a second-half revival from the hosts when Jonathan Tah slammed in a volley eight minutes after the interval.

Moussa Diaby compounded Dortmund’s misery by scoring the visitors’ fifth goal in the 87th minute although the hosts did manage to respond with a strike from Steffen Tigges in the 89th which was eventually awarded after a lengthy VAR review to check a possible offside.

Dortmund were missing their injured top scorer Erling Haaland and slumped to only their second home defeat in the league this season after losing to Bayern in December, having won all of their other home games in the campaign.

Borussia Dortmund, Bundesliga
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Borussia Dortmund are nine points behind leaders Bayern Munich

In Sunday’s other game, Wolfsburg ended their 11-game winless streak across all competitions by beating bottom-of-the-table Greuther Fuerth 4-1 to move up to 12th.

Aster Vranckx scored a brace with Maximilian Arnold and Maximilian Philipp also on target. Branimir Hrgota scored Greuther Fuerth’s goal from the penalty spot.

Serie A: Napoli win to close gap at top to one point

Napoli moved into second place in Serie A with a 2-0 win at struggling Venezia on Sunday, as the gap between the top three teams was cut to a single point.

Goals from Victor Osimhen and Andrea Petagna in the second half ensured that Luciano Spalletti’s side took advantage of a rare slip-up by league leaders Inter Milan, who lost 2-1 to AC Milan on Saturday.

Napoli are second with 52 points, ahead of third-placed AC Milan on goal difference and one point behind champions Inter, who they face next in Naples next Saturday.

Napoli
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Napoli’s Victor Osimhen celebrates after scoring against Venezia

The race for the top four was blown wide open as Atalanta suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at home to Cagliari, who climbed out of the relegation zone for the first time since September.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s side went behind through a Gaston Pereiro strike before goalkeeper Juan Musso was sent off, and Pereiro scored again to win it for the Sardinians four minutes after Jose Luis Palomino had equalised.

Dusan Vlahovic and Denis Zakaria enjoyed dream Juventus debuts as the two January signings scored in a 2-0 win over Verona on Sunday, sending the Turin club two points above Atalanta into fourth place.

Serbia international Vlahovic opened the scoring with a perfectly weighted lob after 13 minutes. It was the 22-year-old’s 18th goal of the season, drawing him level with Lazio’s Ciro Immobile as the league’s joint-top scorer.

Things got even better for Massimiliano Allegri’s side after the break when deadline day arrival Zakaria sprinted forward from midfield to hammer a shot into the bottom corner.

Elsewhere, Sampdoria thrashed midtable Sassuolo 4-0 to go five points clear of the relegation zone, Bologna drew 0-0 with Empoli, and Udinese beat Torino 2-0.

Ligue 1: Messi on target as PSG thump Lille

Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe both scored as Paris Saint-Germain ran riot in a 5-1 thrashing of defending Ligue 1 champions Lille on Sunday, extending their unbeaten run in the competition to 14 matches.

It was a clinical performance from the visitors, aided by some poor defending from their hosts as Danilo scored a brace and Presnel Kimpembe also got his name on the scoresheet.

Sven Botman had equalised for mid-table Lille in the first half.

It was a positive response from PSG following their French Cup exit on Monday at the hands of Nice and they now have a 13-point lead over Marseille in the title race after 23 matches.

PSG
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Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe both scored as Paris Saint-Germain thrashed Lille

Third-placed Nice were stunned at home by lowly Clermont as Elbasan Rashani scored the winner for the visitors 13 minutes from time.

Bordeaux‘s poor season continued when they were thrashed 5-0 at Reims and finished the game with 10 men after a red card for Danylo Ignatenko.

Zimbabwe midfielder Marshall Munetsi scored twice for the home side to go with goals from Hugo Ekitike, Azor Matusiwa and Wout Faes.

Bordeaux are second-bottom in the table with only four wins from their 23 games this season.

Lorient moved out of the relegation zone with a 2-0 home success against Lens, Sambou Soumano and Mali striker Ibrahima Kone, recently returned from the Africa Cup of Nations, got their goals.

Strasbourg climbed up to fourth with a 1-0 win over Nantes thanks to a Dimitri Lienard goal on 76 minutes, while Rennes are one place further back following their 2-0 home win against Brest.

Gaetan Laborde scored in the first half and Martin Terrier grabbed a late second.

Troyes and Metz played out a 0-0 draw in the other game on Sunday.

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Auba: Arteta had a problem with me | Joining Barca ‘a dream’

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has confirmed a strained relationship with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta contributed to his decision to join Barcelona on a free transfer.

The striker swapped north London for Catalonia on Deadline Day after being stripped of the captaincy at the Emirates in December following a disciplinary breach.

His late substitute appearance in the Gunners’ 2-1 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park on December 6 would, as it transpired, be his last for the club, given the apparent rift between the pair.

Speaking at his official unveiling at the Nou Camp, Aubameyang said: “I think it was a problem just with him [Arteta]. I can’t really tell you much. He wasn’t happy and that was it. I can’t say anything else because that’s what happened. I wasn’t very happy and I’m better this way.

“There were some complicated months. Sometimes football is like that. If I had to say something about this, I would say, on my behalf, I never wanted to do anything bad.

“Now I have to put this behind me, that is in the past. I want to think about the present.”

Given Barcelona’s ongoing financial issues, the 32-year-old is reported to have taken a significant pay cut to force the move through, which brought an end to his four-year association with Arsenal.

The move, however, appeared to be on the rocks at one point, when he arrived in the city before any official agreement between the two clubs was reached.

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Aubameyang will wear the No 25 shirt for Barca

“That was a very long, crazy day,” he added.

“I was with my dad at his house and I was just hoping that everything would work out well. They called me in the afternoon and said I could do the medical checks. I was a bit stressed, but everything was good in the end.

“It is true that I’ve not played for a little while, but in my head everything is very clear. I’ll be ready to play and help out soon. I know that we are going to go back to the top little by little.”

Leading the player’s unveiling in Auditorium 1899 was Barcelona president Joan Laporta, who suggested there would be a financial incentive for Aubameyang later down the line as a result of his salary sacrifice.

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Aubameyang expresses his excitement in joining Barcelona

He said: “Everything has worked very well with this transfer. We are signing a top player who wanted to come to Barca, who made an effort, a sacrifice, to come here, which we appreciate very much.

“Once we have a more healthy financial situation, we will help you as you are helping Barca now.

“We were working hard late in the night to finalise this transfer and until the last minute when the contract between him and Arsenal was in, as well as the one here at Barca to formalise this signing.

“I think we had a very good winter transfer window that was within the possibilities of the club.”

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Paul Merson tells Sky Sports News a move for Aubameyang from Arsenal to Barcelona ticks boxes for both clubs

Having signed a three-year deal, which includes an 18-month break clause, the Gabon international appears optimistic about his future and has targeted not only a return to the Champions League but lifting the trophy, too.

“Barca is a great club that has to win the Champions League, that’s why I came here,” he said. “I am here to do everything we can to get back into the Champions League and then go out and win it.

Dharmesh Sheth explains that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would prefer to stay in Europe should he leave Arsenal this January.
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Aubameyang had not featured for Arsenal since the 2-1 defeat to Everton on December 6 before his move to Barcelona

“I have always had the dream to play in La Liga; it is something I have dreamed of as a child. This is the opportunity of my life. Barca are one of the best clubs in the world so that is why I am here.

“Everything is really good. When I got here, I will tell you the truth, I felt really good. The people are really good. I’m really happy. It is like a dream and I’m not at all ready to wake up.

“I dream of playing here for a long time. I’m going to work very hard to keep playing as long as possible. I’m going to give everything I have got and I need to show my gratitude to the club. It is an honour for me to be here.”

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Aubameyang: My target is Champions League football

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang wants to lead Barcelona into the Champions League after officially joining the Spanish side on a three-and-a-half-year deal.

Barcelona finally confirmed the signing of Aubameyang on Wednesday, despite the 32-year-old having trained with his new team-mates on Tuesday after agreeing a dramatic Deadline Day move to Spain from Arsenal.

The La Liga side have revealed he has an option to agree his departure on June 30, 2023, with an £83.4m release clause in his contract.

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Aubameyang expresses his excitement at joining Barcelona

Speaking in an interview on Barcelona’s official Twitter feed, Aubameyang made it clear what his aims were, having signed a deal until 2025.

“I’m very proud, especially because my family is Spanish from my mother’s side,” he said. “I’m really proud and happy to be here. My main goal is to help the team and give everything I can to bring the team back into the Champions League and stuff like that.

“I’m just happy to be here and I will try to give everything. It’s amazing to have him (Xavi) as a coach, he’s been a fantastic player as everyone knows and I’m sure as a coach he will bring us something that we will learn.”

An Arsenal statement on Tuesday night confirmed Aubameyang’s exit: “We wish Auba all the best for the next chapter in his career and thank him for his contribution to the club.”

Later on Tuesday evening, Aubameyang posted a goodbye message on social media: “To the Arsenal fans, thank you for making London home for myself and my family for the past four years.

“We went through ups and downs together and your support meant everything to me.

“Having the chance to win trophies and the honour of being the captain of this club is something I will forever keep in my heart.

“I have always been 100 per cent focused and committed on doing everything I can for this club which is why leaving without a real goodbye hurts – but that is football.

“I’m sad I did not get the chance to help my team-mates in the last few weeks, but I have nothing but respect for this club and truly wish all my guys and the fans all the best and many successful years in the future! Love, Auba.”

Aubameyang leaves Arsenal after four years at the club, having joined from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018 for a then club-record £60m fee.

Arsenal were willing to allow Aubameyang to leave after stripping him of the captaincy in December following a disciplinary issue.

He had not played for Arsenal since December 6, and was left out of their squad for their warm-weather training camp in Dubai.

The Gabon international, who scored 92 goals in 163 games for the Gunners and won the FA Cup in 2020, leaves the Emirates with 18 months left of his contract worth £350,000 a week.

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After Aubameyang completed a deal to join Barcelona, we take a look back at some of his best Premier League goals for Arsenal

The Premier League club are estimated to be making a saving of around £25m in wages with Aubameyang’s departure. But his exit means Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will finish the season with just two recognised strikers in his squad, with both Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette out of contract in the summer.

The deal for Aubameyang to join Barca had looked off earlier on Deadline Day after talks broke down over the financial part of the deal.

But it is understood that Aubameyang took a significant pay cut to facilitate the move.

Analysis: A risk for Arteta and Arsenal

Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol:

“This is a big risk by Mikel Arteta, because what happens if Aubameyang goes to Barcelona and scores a lot of goals?

“It just shows how much Arsenal are backing the judgement of their manager. Arteta is saying ‘I know he is our best goalscorer, he is the club captain, he is the highest earner at the club for disciplinary reasons l don’t want him at the club’. It’s a big, big call.

“I know he is leaving Arsenal under a bit of a cloud but there are also a lot of good memories. His ratio of goals to games is right up there with the great players.

“Arsenal supporters will say ‘we are weaker now than we were at the start of the window’. But in this instance, you have to back Mikel Arteta’s judgement – that is what the Arsenal owners are doing.”

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Kevin Campbell says Arsenal are playing ‘Russian roulette’ by not bringing in a new striker to replace Aubameyang

Analysis: Aubameyang had lost his way

Sky Sports’ Adam Bate:

“The drop in performance levels has been so great that it is probably worth reminding people that Aubameyang was a world-class striker for much of his time at Arsenal.

“Indeed, from the day of his debut for the club in February 2018 until the day of his double against Everton in February 2020, no player scored more Premier League goals. He scored 49 times in that period, the same as Mohamed Salah and a dozen more than Harry Kane.

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Former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor has his say on Aubameyang’s future and believes it is not the player with the issue, but the club

“There was a notable highlight after that when he scored twice in Arsenal’s FA Cup final win over Chelsea in the summer of 2020. But almost as soon as his new contract was signed that September, there has been a sense of decline, of a player whose best days are behind him.

“Stripped of the captaincy, too often the leadership has had to come from elsewhere. It is the young players driving Arsenal on under Mikel Arteta, not their best-paid player. That is a situation the club knows well having been through similar with Mesut Ozil. It cannot last.

“At 32, there will be hope that Aubameyang could yet recapture his best form, inspired by new surroundings and the challenge of restoring Barcelona to their former glories. At Arsenal, any regret will be tempered by the feeling that it is time for the club to move on.”

Merson: ‘Arsenal need a striker’

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Paul Merson tells Sky Sports News a move for Aubameyang from Arsenal to Barcelona ticks boxes for both clubs

Paul Merson told Sky Sports:

“If Alexandre Lacazette puts the open goal chance away against Burnley, it is job done and no one is moaning at all.

“Everyone would be talking about how good a result that would have been for Arsenal with a clean sheet too. It’s 1-0 to the Arsenal and everything is great. But he misses an open goal and all of a sudden, they have only scored one goal in January, which came in their best performance by a mile.

“That’s the problem Arsenal have. You are not going to win too much without a centre forward.

“I know people will say Manchester City do, but they still have to win the Champions League playing with a false nine. They also have superstars all over the pitch and are probably the only team in the world that could do that.

“So, Arsenal need a centre forward.”

Smith: Sad way for Auba’s Arsenal career to end

Alan Smith told Sky Sports:

It is sad how Aubameyang’s time at Arsenal has ended but it is something that tends to happen a bit more in football these days.

He was a top-quality striker and at the time of his contract renewal, I do not think Arsenal could have done anything else but to have given him that new deal.

He was the top man at the club, a brilliant finisher and he was the envy of so many top clubs in the world. So, Arsenal wanted to keep hold of him and that was the right thing to do.

But his form fell off a cliff, basically. We all point to that new contract as to whether it made a difference but only he can answer that. Did his appetite go? Did he rest on his laurels? I don’t know but it is a sad way for his Arsenal career to end.

He is not particularly old and he should have some more good years left in him. We will see what happens at Barcelona, but it is disappointing that Arsenal have to let go of a player with that ability.

However, in business and in football you have got to make these difficult calls, and Arsenal have done that.

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Auba: Leaving without a goodbye hurts | Arsenal confirm exit

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says it “hurts” to leave Arsenal “without a real goodbye” after he left the club by mutual consent ahead of his move to Barcelona on a free transfer.

Aubameyang trained with his new Barcelona team-mates on Tuesday after agreeing a dramatic Deadline Day move to the Spanish giants from the Gunners.

An Arsenal statement on Tuesday night confirmed Aubameyang’s exit: “We wish Auba all the best for the next chapter in his career and thank him for his contribution to the club.”

Later on Tuesday evening, Aubameyang posted a goodbye message on social media: “To the Arsenal fans, thank you for making London home for myself and my family for the past four years.

“We went through ups and downs together and your support meant everything to me.

“Having the chance to win trophies and the honour of being the captain of this club is something I will forever keep in my heart.

“I have always been 100 per cent focused and committed on doing everything I can for this club which is why leaving without a real goodbye hurts – but that is football.

“I’m sad I did not get the chance to help my teammates in the last few weeks, but I have nothing but respect for this club and truly wish all my guys and the fans all the best and many successful years in the future! Love, Auba.”

The 32-year-old leaves Arsenal after four years at the club, having joined from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018 for a then club-record £60m fee.

Arsenal were willing to allow Aubameyang to leave after stripping him of the captaincy in December following a disciplinary issue.

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After Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang completed a deal to join Barcelona, we take a look back at some of his best Premier League goals for Arsenal

Aubameyang has not played for Arsenal since December 6, and was left out of their squad for their warm-weather training camp in Dubai.

Aubameyang, who scored 92 goals in 163 games for the Gunners and won the FA Cup in 2020, leaves the Emirates with 18 months left of his contract worth £350,000 a week.

The Premier League club are estimated to be making a saving of around £25m in wages with Aubameyang’s departure. But his exit means Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will finish the season with just two recognised strikers in his squad, with both Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette out of contract in the summer.

The deal for Aubameyang to join the Catalan side had looked off earlier on Deadline Day after talks broke down over the financial part of the deal.

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Take a look at how one of the biggest moves on Deadline Day happened as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left Arsenal for Barcelona on a free transfer

But it is understood that Aubameyang took a significant pay cut to facilitate the move.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Barcelona president Joan Laporta said the club hoped to unveil the Gabon captain this week, along with fellow new signing Adama Traore, who re-joined the club from Wolves.

Laporta said: “We will present Adama Traore tomorrow and, if everything continues well, we will also present Aubameyang.”

Analysis: A risk for Arteta and Arsenal

Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol:

“This is a big risk by Mikel Arteta, because what happens if Aubameyang goes to Barcelona and scores a lot of goals?

“It just shows how much Arsenal are backing the judgement of their manager. Arteta is saying ‘I know he is our best goalscorer, he is the club captain, he is the highest earner at the club for disciplinary reasons l don’t want him at the club’. It’s a big, big call.

“I know he is leaving Arsenal under a bit of a cloud but there are also a lot of good memories. His ratio of goals to games is right up there with the great players.

“Arsenal supporters will say ‘we are weaker now than we were at the start of the window’. But in this instance, you have to back Mikel Arteta’s judgement – that is what the Arsenal owners are doing.”

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Kevin Campbell says Arsenal are playing ‘Russian roulette’ by not bringing in a new striker to replace Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang who moved to Barcelona

Analysis: Aubameyang had lost his way

Sky Sports’ Adam Bate:

“The drop in performance levels has been so great that it is probably worth reminding people that Aubameyang was a world-class striker for much of his time at Arsenal.

“Indeed, from the day of his debut for the club in February 2018 until the day of his double against Everton in February 2020, no player scored more Premier League goals. He scored 49 times in that period, the same as Mohamed Salah and a dozen more than Harry Kane.

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Former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor has his say on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future and believes it is not the player with the issue, but the club

“There was a notable highlight after that when he scored twice in Arsenal’s FA Cup final win over Chelsea in the summer of 2020. But almost as soon as his new contract was signed that September, there has been a sense of decline, of a player whose best days are behind him.

“Stripped of the captaincy, too often the leadership has had to come from elsewhere. It is the young players driving Arsenal on under Mikel Arteta, not their best-paid player. That is a situation the club knows well having been through similar with Mesut Ozil. It cannot last.

“At 32, there will be hope that Aubameyang could yet recapture his best form, inspired by new surroundings and the challenge of restoring Barcelona to their former glories. At Arsenal, any regret will be tempered by the feeling that it is time for the club to move on.”

Merson: ‘Arsenal need a striker’

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Paul Merson tells Sky Sports News that a potential move for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Arsenal to Barcelona ticks boxes for both clubs

Paul Merson told Sky Sports:

“If Alexandre Lacazette puts the open goal chance away against Burnley, it is job done and no one is moaning at all.

“Everyone would be talking about how good a result that would have been for Arsenal with a clean sheet too. It’s 1-0 to the Arsenal and everything is great. But he misses an open goal and all of a sudden, they have only scored one goal in January, which came in their best performance by a mile.

“That’s the problem Arsenal have. You are not going to win too much without a centre forward.

“I know people will say Manchester City do, but they still have to win the Champions League playing with a false nine. They also have superstars all over the pitch and are probably the only team in the world that could do that.

“So, Arsenal need a centre forward.”

Follow Arsenal with Sky Sports

Follow every Arsenal game in the Premier League this season with our live blogs on the Sky Sports website and app, and watch match highlights for free shortly after full-time.

Want the Arsenal latest? Bookmark our Arsenal news page, check out Arsenal’s fixtures and Arsenal’s latest results, watch Arsenal goals and video, keep track of the Premier League table and see which Arsenal games are coming up live on Sky Sports.

Get all this and more – including notifications sent straight to your phone – by downloading the Sky Sports Scores app and setting Arsenal as your favourite team.

Hear the best Premier League reaction and expert analysis with the Essential Football and Gary Neville podcasts, keep up-to-date with our dedicated Transfer Centre, follow the Sky Sports social accounts on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, and find out how to get Sky Sports.

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Auba trains with Barca despite deal not being done

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang trained with Barcelona on Tuesday despite his transfer from Arsenal not being confirmed.

Aubameyang signed for Barcelona after a dramatic Transfer Deadline Day which saw his move collapse before being saved late on.

The Gabon forward flew to Barcelona on Monday morning and trained with his new team-mates on Tuesday.

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Take a look at how one of the biggest moves on Deadline Day happened as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left Arsenal for Barcelona on a free transfer.

However, neither Barcelona or Arsenal have officially confirmed the deal.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Barcelona president Joan Laporta said the club hope to announce the 32-year-old this week along with fellow new signing Adama Traore, who rejoined the club from Wolves.

Laporta said: “We will present Adama Traore tomorrow and, if everything continues well, we will also present Aubameyang.”

Arsenal became willing to allow Aubameyang to leave after stripping him of the captaincy in December following a disciplinary issue.

The 32-year-old did not play for the club after December 6, and was left out of their squad for their warm-weather training camp in Dubai.

Aubameyang, who scored 92 goals in 163 games for the Gunners, leaves the Emirates Stadium inside the final 18 months of a contract worth £350,000 a week.

The Premier League club are estimated to be making a saving of around £25m in wages with Aubameyang’s departure. But his exit means Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will finish the season with just two recognised strikers in his squad, with both Eddie Nketiah and Alex Lacazette out of contract in the summer.

The deal had looked off earlier on Deadline Day after talks broke down over the financial part of the deal. But it is understood that Aubameyang took a significant pay cut to facilitate the move.

Will Aubameyang make Barca’s Europa League squad?

UEFA rules state clubs can only register a maximum of three new players signed during the January window to their European squads.

Barcelona signed Dani Alves, Ferran Torres, Adama Traore and Aubameyang during the transfer window, meaning manager Xavi will have to leave one out of Barcelona’s squad for the Europe League.

Barcelona host Napoli for the first leg of their Europa League play-off clash on February 17.

Analysis: A risk for Arteta and Arsenal

Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol:

“This is a big risk by Mikel Arteta because what happens if Aubameyang goes to Barcelona and scores a lot of goals?

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Kevin Campbell says Arsenal are playing ‘Russian roulette’ by not bringing in a new striker to replace Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang

“It just shows how much Arsenal are backing the judgement of their manager. Arteta is saying ‘I know he is our best goalscorer, he is the club captain, he is the highest earner at the club for disciplinary reasons l don’t want him at the club’. It’s a big, big call.

“I know he is leaving Arsenal under a bit of a cloud but there are also a lot of good memories. His ratio of goals to games is right up there with the great players.

“Arsenal supporters will say ‘we are weaker now than we were at the start of the window’. But in this instance, you have to back Mikel Arteta’s judgement – that is what the Arsenal owners are doing.”

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La Liga TV presenter Semra Hunter says she expects Barcelona to announce the completion of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s transfer from Arsenal on Tuesday afternoon.

Analysis: Aubameyang had lost his way

Sky Sports’ Adam Bate:

“The drop in performance levels has been so great that it is probably worth reminding people that Aubameyang was a world-class striker for much of his time at Arsenal.

“Indeed, from the day of his debut for the club in February 2018 until the day of his double against Everton in February 2020, no player scored more Premier League goals. He scored 49 times in that period, the same as Mohamed Salah and a dozen more than Harry Kane.

“There was a notable highlight after that when he scored twice in Arsenal’s FA Cup final win over Chelsea in the summer of 2020. But almost as soon as his new contract was signed that September, there has been a sense of decline, of a player whose best days are behind him.

“Stripped of the captaincy, too often the leadership has had to come from elsewhere. It is the young players driving Arsenal on under Mikel Arteta, not their best-paid player. That is a situation the club knows well having been through similar with Mesut Ozil. It cannot last.

“At 32, there will be hope that Aubameyang could yet recapture his best form, inspired by new surroundings and the challenge of restoring Barcelona to their former glories. At Arsenal, any regret will be tempered by the feeling that it is time for the club to move on.”

Merson: ‘Arsenal need a striker’

Paul Merson told Sky Sports:

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Paul Merson tells Sky Sports News that a move for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Arsenal to Barcelona ticks boxes for both clubs.

“If Alexandre Lacazette puts the open goal chance away against Burnley, it is job done and no one is moaning at all.

“Everyone would be talking about how good a result that would have been for Arsenal with a clean sheet too. It’s 1-0 to the Arsenal and everything is great. But he misses an open goal and all of a sudden, they have only scored one goal in January, which came in their best performance by a mile.

“That’s the problem Arsenal have. You are not going to win too much without a centre forward.

“I know people will say Manchester City do, but they still have to win the Champions League playing with a false nine. They also have superstars all over the pitch and are probably the only team in the world that could do that.

“So, Arsenal need a centre forward.”

Follow Arsenal with Sky Sports

Follow every Arsenal game in the Premier League this season with our live blogs on the Sky Sports website and app, and watch match highlights for free shortly after full-time.

Want the Arsenal latest? Bookmark our Arsenal news page, check out Arsenal’s fixtures and Arsenal’s latest results, watch Arsenal goals and video, keep track of the Premier League table and see which Arsenal games are coming up live on Sky Sports.

Get all this and more – including notifications sent straight to your phone – by downloading the Sky Sports Scores app and setting Arsenal as your favourite team.

Hear the best Premier League reaction and expert analysis with the Essential Football and Gary Neville podcasts, keep up-to-date with our dedicated Transfer Centre, follow the Sky Sports social accounts on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, and find out how to get Sky Sports.

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Aubameyang completes free transfer to Barcelona

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has signed for Barcelona on a free transfer from Arsenal.

Arsenal became willing to allow the 32-year-old to leave after stripping him of the captaincy in December following a disciplinary issue.

The 32-year-old did not play for the club after December 6, and was left out of their squad for their warm-weather training camp in Dubai.

Aubameyang, who scored 92 goals in 163 games for the Gunners, leaves the Emirates Stadium inside the final 18 months of a contract worth £350,000 a week.

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We take a look back at some of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s best Premier League goals for Arsenal

The Premier League club are estimated to be making a saving of around £25m in wages with Aubameyang’s departure. But his exit means Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta’s will finish the season with just two recognised strikers in his squad, with both Eddie Nketiah and Alex Lacazette out of contract in the summer.

The deal had looked off earlier on Deadline Day after talks broke down over the financial part of the deal.

But it is understood that Aubameyang, who flew out to Barcelona on Monday morning, took a significant pay cut to facilitate the move.

Analysis: A risk for Arteta and Arsenal

Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol:

“This is a big risk by Mikel Arteta because what happens if Aubameyang goes to Barcelona and scores a lot of goals?

“It just shows how much Arsenal are backing the judgement of their manager. Arteta is saying ‘I know he is our best goalscorer, he is the club captain, he is the highest earner at the club for disciplinary reasons l don’t want him at the club’. It’s a big, big call.

“I know he is leaving Arsenal under a bit of a cloud but there are also a lot of good memories. His ratio of goals to games is right up there with the great players.

“Arsenal supporters will say ‘we are weaker now than we were at the start of the window’. But in this instance, you have to back Mikel Arteta’s judgement – that is what the Arsenal owners are doing.”

Analysis: Aubameyang had lost his way

Sky Sports’ Adam Bate:

“The drop in performance levels has been so great that it is probably worth reminding people that Aubameyang was a world-class striker for much of his time at Arsenal.

“Indeed, from the day of his debut for the club in February 2018 until the day of his double against Everton in February 2020, no player scored more Premier League goals. He scored 49 times in that period, the same as Mohamed Salah and a dozen more than Harry Kane.

“There was a notable highlight after that when he scored twice in Arsenal’s FA Cup final win over Chelsea in the summer of 2020. But almost as soon as his new contract was signed that September, there has been a sense of decline, of a player whose best days are behind him.

“Stripped of the captaincy, too often the leadership has had to come from elsewhere. It is the young players driving Arsenal on under Mikel Arteta, not their best-paid player. That is a situation the club knows well having been through similar with Mesut Ozil. It cannot last.

“At 32, there will be hope that Aubameyang could yet recapture his best form, inspired by new surroundings and the challenge of restoring Barcelona to their former glories. At Arsenal, any regret will be tempered by the feeling that it is time for the club to move on.”

Merson: ‘Arsenal need a striker’

Paul Merson told Sky Sports:

“If Alexandre Lacazette puts the open goal chance away against Burnley, it is job done and no one is moaning at all.

“Everyone would be talking about how good a result that would have been for Arsenal with a clean sheet too. It’s 1-0 to the Arsenal and everything is great. But he misses an open goal and all of a sudden, they have only scored one goal in January, which came in their best performance by a mile.

“That’s the problem Arsenal have. You are not going to win too much without a centre forward.

“I know people will say Manchester City do, but they still have to win the Champions League playing with a false nine. They also have superstars all over the pitch and are probably the only team in the world that could do that.

“So, Arsenal need a centre forward.”

Follow Arsenal with Sky Sports

Follow every Arsenal game in the Premier League this season with our live blogs on the Sky Sports website and app, and watch match highlights for free shortly after full-time.

Want the Arsenal latest? Bookmark our Arsenal news page, check out Arsenal’s fixtures and Arsenal’s latest results, watch Arsenal goals and video, keep track of the Premier League table and see which Arsenal games are coming up live on Sky Sports.

Get all this and more – including notifications sent straight to your phone – by downloading the Sky Sports Scores app and setting Arsenal as your favourite team.

Hear the best Premier League reaction and expert analysis with the Essential Football and Gary Neville podcasts, keep up-to-date with our dedicated Transfer Centre, follow the Sky Sports social accounts on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, and find out how to get Sky Sports.

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Dembele set to stay at Barcelona | Chelsea interested in summer deal

Ousmane Dembele is set to stay at Barcelona until the end of the season, despite Chelsea make an enquiry about signing the winger on Deadline Day.

The Blues reignited their interest after hearing his potential move to Paris Saint-Germain had stalled.

But the lack of time, plus financial obstacles, meant a deal was always going to be tough to conclude on Monday, and talks ultimately failed to progress.

Chelsea remain interested in signing Dembele in the summer, when he will be a free agent.

The France international’s contract expires at the end of the season, and he can now speak to clubs about signing a pre-contract ahead of a transfer in the summer.

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Back in June last year, Ousmane Dembele scored for France against Wales in a friendly

Dembele was in Paris on Monday but returned to Barcelona after his potential move to PSG failed to materialise.

Barcelona officials told Dembele to find another club earlier this month after he decided not to accept a new contract that included a pay cut.

But the 24-year-old made it clear he wanted to stay at the Nou Camp and see out the remainder of his deal.

Dembele joined Barcelona for £97m plus add-ons from Borussia Dortmund in August 2017, but has struggled to justify his price tag due to a series of injuries and has started only six matches this season.

Dembele accuses Barca of ‘blackmail’

Dembele said last week he will “not give in to blackmail” after the club told him he must leave in the January transfer window.

The 24-year-old said on Instagram: “As of today, I’m going to answer honestly without giving in to any form of blackmail.

“I forbid people from thinking that I’m not committed to this sporting project. I forbid people from attributing intentions to me that I’ve never had.

“I forbid people from speaking for me or my agent, who I have total confidence in. I’m still under contract, I’m fully committed and at the disposal of the club and my coach.

“I’ve always given everything for my team-mates and also for all the fans. That’s not going to change now. I’m not a man who cheats and even less so one who’s used to giving in to blackmail. Love can certainly be a variant of blackmail.”

Follow Chelsea with Sky Sports

Follow every Chelsea game in the Premier League this season with our live blogs on the Sky Sports website and app, and watch match highlights for free shortly after full-time.

Want the Chelsea latest? Bookmark our Chelsea news page, check out Chelsea’s fixtures and Chelsea’s latest results, watch Chelsea goals and video, keep track of the Premier League table and see which Chelsea games are coming up live on Sky Sports.

Get all this and more – including notifications sent straight to your phone – by downloading the Sky Sports Scores app and setting Chelsea as your favourite team.

Hear the best Premier League reaction and expert analysis with the Essential Football and Gary Neville podcasts, keep up-to-date with our dedicated Transfer Centre, follow the Sky Sports social accounts on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, and find out how to get Sky Sports.

Follow Deadline Day with Sky Sports

The clock is ticking. Who will be on the move before the transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday January 31?

Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

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Arsenal and Barcelona agree Aubameyang deal

Barcelona have agreed a deal with Arsenal to sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Aubameyang flew to Barcelona to visit family and did not have meetings with club officials.

Discussions between the clubs had centred around the percentage of Aubameyang’s wages Barcelona would pay.

Aubameyang had made “financial sacrifices” to try and get the deal done but time is running out for Barcelona to come up with the money Arsenal want.

He is expected to return to London and Sky Sports News has been told there is an element of surprise in some quarters that Aubameyang had headed to Barcelona before a deal had been agreed.

But Barcelona president Joan Laporta has been quoted by Mundo Deportivo in Spain as saying: “We would like to incorporate Aubameyang. It is very complicated but there is hope.”

Speaking on transfers generally, Laporta added: “We are working and will continue to work on all the issues until last moment.”

Juventus also wanted to sign Aubameyang but their move was dependent on Atletico Madrid agreeing to cut Alvaro Morata’s loan spell short. As it stands, Morata will stay at Juventus.

Arsenal are willing to allow Aubameyang to leave after stripping him of the captaincy in December following a disciplinary issue.

The 32-year-old has not played for the club since December 6, and was left out of their squad for their warm-weather training camp in Dubai this week.

Sky Sports News reported earlier in the window that the 32-year-old would prefer a move to a top European club if a deal could be agreed.

Marseille, Sevilla, Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan all expressed an interest, while Saudi Arabian clubs Al Nassr and Al Hilal made loan offers with obligations to buy.

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We take a look back at some of Aubameyang’s best Premier League goals for Arsenal

Analysis: Aubameyang had lost his way

Sky Sports’ Adam Bate:

The drop in performance levels has been so great that it is probably worth reminding people that Aubameyang was a world-class striker for much of his time at Arsenal.

Indeed, from the day of his debut for the club in February 2018 until the day of his double against Everton in February 2020, no player scored more Premier League goals. He scored 49 times in that period, the same as Mohamed Salah and a dozen more than Harry Kane.

aubameyang scoring against tottenham
Image:
Aubameyang has seven goals for Arsenal this season, but none since October

There was a notable highlight after that when he scored twice in Arsenal’s FA Cup final win over Chelsea in the summer of 2020. But almost as soon as his new contract was signed that September, there has been a sense of decline, of a player whose best days are behind him.

Stripped of the captaincy, too often the leadership has had to come from elsewhere. It is the young players driving Arsenal on under Mikel Arteta, not their best-paid player. That is a situation the club knows well having been through similar with Mesut Ozil. It cannot last.

At 32, there will be hope that Aubameyang could yet recapture his best form, inspired by new surroundings and the challenge of restoring Barcelona to their former glories. At Arsenal, any regret will be tempered by the feeling that it is time for the club to move on.

Has Aubameyang played his final game for Arsenal?

Sky Sports News’ Dharmesh Sheth:

“The deal is not done with Barcelona but there is an increasing confidence it can be done.

“It is a straight loan until the end of the season. Discussions are ongoing about how much of a percentage of his wages Barcelona will pay – we think he is on £350,000 a week.

“Arsenal will be looking for the majority of that payment to be made by Barcelona.

“These developments with Aubameyang explain why, as it stands, Eddie Nketiah remains at Arsenal. That is despite Crystal Palace making two bids during this transfer window.”

Merson: ‘Arsenal need a striker’

Paul Merson told Sky Sports:

“If Alexandre Lacazette puts the open goal chance away against Burnley, it is job done and no one is moaning at all.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the goalless draw between Arsenal and Burnley in the Premier League

“Everyone would be talking about how good a result that would have been for Arsenal with a clean sheet too. It’s 1-0 to the Arsenal and everything is great. But he misses an open goal and all of a sudden, they have only scored one goal in January, which came in their best performance by a mile.

“That’s the problem Arsenal have. You are not going to win too much without a centre forward.

“I know people will say Manchester City do, but they still have to win the Champions League playing with a false nine. They also have superstars all over the pitch and are probably the only team in the world that could do that.

“So, Arsenal need a centre forward.”

Follow Arsenal with Sky Sports

Follow every Arsenal game in the Premier League this season with our live blogs on the Sky Sports website and app, and watch match highlights for free shortly after full-time.

Want the Arsenal latest? Bookmark our Arsenal news page, check out Arsenal’s fixtures and Arsenal’s latest results, watch Arsenal goals and video, keep track of the Premier League table and see which Arsenal games are coming up live on Sky Sports.

Get all this and more – including notifications sent straight to your phone – by downloading the Sky Sports Scores app and setting Arsenal as your favourite team.

Hear the best Premier League reaction and expert analysis with the Essential Football and Gary Neville podcasts, keep up-to-date with our dedicated Transfer Centre, follow the Sky Sports social accounts on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, and find out how to get Sky Sports.

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Barcelona’s Dembele verbally agrees to join PSG

Ousmane Dembele is in talks over a permanent transfer to Paris Saint-Germain. 

Barcelona want £20m for the transfer after telling Dembele, who is out of contract at the end of the season, to find another club.

Dembele reached a verbal agreement with PSG on Sunday, despite interest from the Premier League.

His representatives Moussa Sissoko and Marco Lichtsteiner are working to find a solution for the winger.

Barcelona told Dembele again on Thursday to find another club if he does not want to not sign their previous offer of a new short-term contract with a wage reduction.

Dembele would prefer to stay for the remainder of his current deal but Barcelona have made it clear they want him out now and have even threatened to leave him in the stands if he stays.

The 24-year-old joined the club from Borussia Dortmund for £135m in the summer of 2017 – just weeks after Neymar’s world-record move to Paris Saint-Germain – but has struggled with injuries for much of his time in Spain.

Dembele has started just six matches this season with his only goal coming in the Copa del Rey victory at third-tier Linares earlier this month.

Follow Deadline Day with Sky Sports

The clock is ticking. Who will be on the move before the transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday January 31?

Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

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