Former Arsenal full-back Bacary Sagna has urged the club to learn from past mistakes with regards to the future of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The superstar forward has been everything Gunners fans could’ve hoped for since his arrival from Borussia Dortmund in 2018.
With his combination of lethal finishing and blistering pace, Aubameyang has notched 61 times in 97 appearances for the club and his goals have often been the sole factor keeping Arsenal in the race for European qualification.
With his contract expiring in the summer of 2021 and no immediate sign of an extension, speculation has been rife that he could depart for pastures new rather than be allowed to leave on a free transfer in three windows’ time.
The situation is reminiscent of the one that took Robin van Persie to Old Trafford in 2012, and former Gunner Sagna believes Arsenal simply “can’t afford to lose” Aubameyang in the same vein.
“He can’t go now because Arsenal are on the way to building something strong,” Sagna told Goal.
“They can’t afford to lose him. If they have to pay him, then just pay him because if they want someone else of his quality they cost £150m.
“So don’t spend this £150m, just spend £50m and give it to him. It’s the same as van Persie and I think you have to learn from that situation.
“Auba deserves it. I’m not saying that because of his name or because he has scored a few goals. He’s the best striker in the league.”
The former France right-back believes Aubameyang can be the cornerstone of the team for years to come, something evidenced by the club’s decision to award him the captaincy.
“Auba is a machine, he has scored many goals for the team,” said the former Gunners defender. “If you want to build something, it has to be around him.
“Giving him the armband gave him some confidence. He is the captain, which means they want him to lead.
“Today, the stadium is the club’s stadium. It’s always full, they are making money. Of course there are other ways of spending money, but I would rather pay him than trying to find a solution with him than losing him and then wasting time trying with someone else, and finding someone else now is very, very difficult.
“It’s like playing chess. You have to be smart. He deserves it, just give it to him.”