Arsenal have parted ways with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, bringing his four-year stint at the Emirates Stadium to an end.
The Gabon international became a free agent on deadline day and has agreed to sign for Barcelona, although the club are yet to announce the deal as they’re still finalising formalities with La Liga.
It means that a long line of pundits who waxed lyrical about the Gabon international’s performances in an Arsenal shirt were eventually proven wrong as his Gunners career took a bumpy turn for the worse.
One of those names was Gary Neville, who praised his commitment to the club in February 2020.
“You talk about Arsenal lacking leaders, he has everything you could want,” he said on Sky Sports, via the Mirror.
“I think this guy is everything you could want, there is a bit of Ian Wright in him, a bit of nastiness.
“In his interviews he shows a bit of character. He works hard off the ball, works hard on the ball.
“He is one minute behind Henry in all-time minutes per goal. Henry played over longer period, he is ahead of Jesus, Salah, Ruud van Nistelrooy – it felt like he scored a goal every 10 seconds.
“It is unbelievable performance of this lad over two years. We don’t talk of him as a Premier League great but I think we have to.”
The comments came just before he signed a new £350,000-per-week contract that then led to a miserable run of form.
Neville admitted that Aubameyang had a reputation for being ‘difficult’, something that was eventually proven right in England, but at the time he stated that any doubts about his commitment and behaviour had to be removed.
He added: “We asked the question why did Klopp not sign him when he needed a striker? And other managers who needed a centre forward.
“I thought it was a test to be fair when Arteta took over and put him on the left, will he throw his toys out the pram? He had this reputation when he came over from Dortmund that he might be a bit difficult.
“I think the doubts have to be removed.
“I don’t think he gets appreciated anywhere as much as he should do for his quality performances at the highest level. Maybe if he was playing for Liverpool or City…
“I think even Rashford and Martial get more airtime maybe because of the Man United link, we are all guilty.
“I think this lad has been absolutely sensational and should be given the credit he deserves.”
Neville’s comments came before Aubameyang signed a new £350-000-a-week deal, which unfortunately led to a disappointing run of form.
He was then stripped of the Gunners captaincy in December for disciplinary reasons, something that ended up being the final straw for Mikel Arteta, who dropped him without any hesitation.
It goes to show how quickly things can change in football, and even though Aubameyang done a lot for the club in the four years he was there, his legacy will be tarnished by how his Arsenal career ended.