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Is Barca Really Gunning For Gunner Strikers?

Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.
Aubameyang & Alexandre Lacazette

August 17, (THEWILL) – Spanish giants Barcelona can have no part in the story making the rounds that the Catalan club was currently involved in negotiations to bring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the English Premier League club Arsenal striker to their club for the new identity they are creating after Lionel Messi’s departure.

This counter comes despite general speculation that the Gabonese forward was back on the club’s radar before the close of the transfer season. Barca was said to be monitoring the situation at the Emirates concerning the pair of strikers in Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.

However, what makes the prospect of an outright buy difficult to believe is the financial limitations of the Spanish club which led to the celebrated exit of Messi and is at the foreground of the sudden Press Conference addressed by club President Joan Laporta on Monday, at THEWILL reported.

At that press meet, Laporta presented figures and facts that painted a stark picture of the deficits his administration met when they took over while revealing that the club’s current debts stand at an immense €1.35bn. It was the reason behind their struggle to cut wages, reduce overhead costs and become more responsible in issuing contracts.

Beyond the option of a new set of contacts that will be nearly impossible to pull off for the Laporta club, the talks around Aubameyang centred around swap deals involving Philippe Coutinho, Barca’s Brazilian midfielder who has struggled in Camp Nou. Yet, Aubameyang has recently struggled at the Emirates, finding goals hard to come by.

The plausibility of such a swap happening will be that it allows Barca get a high earner like Coutinho off their wage bill while being in a position to negotiate a more budget-friendly deal with Aubameyang without the need for expensive transfer fees and bonuses.

The only problem with that argument is that La Blaugrana is not just busy trying to offload players but the restrictions of signing new players still hang on them in the same way it led Messi out to Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain. It took the decision of centre back Gerard Pique accepting a cut in wages for Memphis Depay and two others to be registered.

The injured Sergio Aguero, who accepted a free transfer from English champions Manchester City to Barca, is still not registered as the Catalan club is still dependent on squad captains to follow Pique’s example to give them the latitude to fully incorporate Aguero into the club via registration.

All these put together makes any attempts to include more players into their current team far-fetched even if manager Ronald Koeman continues to declare his desire to sign a new striker before the close of the transfer window, as he did again before and after Sunday’s 4-2 win over Real Sociedad.

On Laporta’s part, the race to further cut the wage bill is of the highest priority and that not much progress has been recorded in that so far will be extremely disturbing. Deals are not forthcoming for players like Miralem Pjanic and Samuel Umtiti, both of whom Barca will want off their balance by the end of August.

They cannot be seen to be doing that while attempting to bring in one or two strikers from the Emirates, who have not demonstrated the versatility to excel beyond the average to a side aiming for excellence and a complete departure from the penchant of the preceding administration to just bring in players without a holistic strategy.