Allowing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s contract to run down is “typical Arsenal”, says Jermaine Pennant, with the Gunners told they should look into selling Mesut Ozil and invest those funds in a new deal for their captain.
Prolific Gabonese frontman Aubameyang has entered the final 12 months of his current terms at Emirates Stadium.
He is yet to commit to an extension, despite offering no indication that he is looking elsewhere and regular claims of confidence from the likes of Mikel Arteta when it comes to an agreement being reached.
Pennant believes Arsenal should now be forcing the issue, with the option there for them to move another big earner off their books as World Cup winner Ozil finds himself frozen out.
The former Gunners winger told talkSPORT, with Arteta’s side set to go in pursuit of major silverware when they take in a meeting with Chelsea on Saturday: “Winning the FA Cup would make it easier to keep hold of him, but the fact he’s not playing Champions League football is going to be a massive factor in him staying.
“A player of that calibre wants to be playing in the Champions League, all the top players in the world want to play on that stage.
“It’s going to be tough for Arsenal to keep him, especially with his contract running down. He’s already rejected an offer to stay, so Arteta is going to have to be doing some right good sweet-talking.
“But if you’ve got Ozil on £300,000 a week and it’s a money issue with Aubameyang, then why not just let Ozil go? Sell Ozil!
“If he’s scoring goals the way he is, just give him the money, it doesn’t matter how old he is!”
Aubameyang is now 31 years of age, but he has scored 68 goals through 108 appearances for Arsenal.
He is not the first high-profile figure that the Gunners have struggled to agree fresh terms with and Pennant admits the north London giants need to shake that unfortunate habit.
“It’s typical Arsenal,” said Pennant. “They do not learn their lesson. You would have thought they would have learned when [Aaron] Ramsey left.
“When you have got a player of that stature and what he can bring to the club – he’s top goalscorer season after season – and you’re letting his contract run down to a year so that potentially he could be going on a free, you’ve got to be snapping your best players up.
“If you want to be competing in the league and you want to be in that top four, you can’t be letting your top goalscorer leave and let his contract run down.
“It is crazy but it does seem that is the Arsenal way and when are they going to learn?”