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‘Aubameyang is what Man Utd are missing’ – Merson fears Arsenal repeat of Van Persie situation

16:43 WAT 20/03/2020
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal 2019-20
The ex-Gunners star admits there is a very real threat that a striker yet to commit to a new contract in north London could be lured to Old Trafford

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is “what Manchester United are missing”, admits Paul Merson, with there a chance that Arsenal could have another Robin van Persie on their hands.

Back in 2012, the Gunners saw their most reliable and productive attacking weapon trade life in north London for that in the north west.

Van Persie left to go chasing titles with a United side that remained a force to be reckoned with at that stage under Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Red Devils no longer enjoy that standing, but they are rebuilding under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and are among those to have been linked with Aubameyang as he stalls on signing a new deal at Arsenal.

Merson fears the Gabonese could go the same way as Van Persie, with the former Gunners star telling Sky Sports: “Aubameyang is what Manchester United are missing. He is a goalscorer and goalscorers are priceless.

“If you look at United and the way they played against Manchester City a couple of weeks ago, I thought they were very, very good. You looked at them and thought they have got a chance, especially if they could also get hold of a couple more players, especially a creative midfielder.

“You couldn't help but be impressed with their performance and if they were to sign Aubameyang and they also got someone like a Jack Grealish, are they big players? They would be a major force, in my opinion.

“They are crying out for someone who is going to score them 20 to 25 goals, and that's what Aubameyang can bring. He gets you 25 goals without even breaking sweat. Add a Grealish if they can get him and then you've got Bruno Fernandes as well playing in behind a striker, Manchester United will be a major force.

“I don't think you can say Aubameyang would be going for ambition if he went to Manchester United though. He'd be going for the money because he's almost 31 and this would likely to be his last move.

“At the moment, you can't say you are going to go to Manchester United and get guaranteed trophies. You won't be able to guarantee United winning anything in the next two or three seasons. They are getting better but it's not ambitions, it's the money.”

Merson added on the similarities between Aubameyang’s situation and that of a previous deal done with United: “The Arsenal fans won't want to see another top striker depart for Old Trafford, that's for sure, but the Robin van Persie situation was a bit different.

“At that time, it was Arsenal vs Manchester United, they were both the big teams in England and for Arsenal, it was like selling United the trophy.

“This is a bit different because you've got to look at where Arsenal are at the moment. They are ninth and if Aubameyang leaves, are they going to finish lower than ninth next season? No way.

“For me, there's a lot of weighing up that needs to be done. I know the natural reaction is to think Arsenal won't be able to replace him and his goals and they must do all they can to keep him, even if it is giving him £300,000 a week, but you can't just look at next season. You've got to look at the all-round picture.

“I'm not saying Aubameyang is not a top-drawer player, he is, but if you are Arsenal and you keep him, are you going to win the Premier League? No. The Gunners have a very big decision coming up.”