How much did Arsenal save in wages by releasing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang?

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is leaving Arsenal and joining Barcelona for free.

The attacker’s last appearance for the Gunners came in early December, after which he fell out of favour with Mikel Arteta.

Arsenal appear happy to let a world-class striker leave them for nothing. Given that the Gunners have limited attacking options already, fans are wondering if this is a wise move.

Why is Aubameyang leaving Arsenal?

Aubameyang’s last appearance for Arsenal came all the way back in the start of December. Since then, he was stripped of the club captaincy. This came after an apparent disciplinary breach, although the exact offence is unknown.

In addition, heart lesions found while on international duty at AFCON have shone a spotlight on Aubameyang’s long-term health.

Aside from off-the-pitch conflict, Arsenal must have seen the financial benefit of letting him go. In September 2020, Aubameyang signed a three-year extension with Arsenal. This contract reportedly came in at £250,000 a week, costing the Gunners £13 million annually.

How much will Arsenal save?

If Arsenal kept Aubameyang for the duration of his contract, they would pay him £39 million in total before bonuses. Obviously, releasing him from this will save them some funds.

Media outlets are guessing at just how much money Arsenal will keep by releasing the Gabon striker. BBC sport reported that Aubameyang’s departure will save approximately £15 million. Other estimates suggest that Arsenal could save over £25 million.

Aubameyang is approximately halfway through his three-year deal. Looking at the base salary of his contract, they could save minimum £13 million from the last year of the deal.

In addition, his release saves roughly £7 million from this season’s salary. Therefore, the total off the wage bill could be approximately £20 million.

UPDATE: The Times have since reported that Arsenal agreed to give Aubameyang a lump sum to terminate his deal. They believe that sum is around £7m.

In effect, they would be paying the wages he expected for the rest of the season.

Why do Barcelona want him?

Barcelona are after Aubameyang so they can bolster their attacking options. Their striking options are limited, with Luuk de Jong currently leading the line.

Aubameyang, when fit, could be a significant upgrade on their current choices. He has a deadly eye for goal, scoring 92 goals in 163 appearances for Arsenal.

The most appealing element to Barcelona is the financial aspect. Aubameyang has reportedly agreed on a significant pay cut. In addition, he is available for free – pending his release from the Gunners.

Aubameyang is a low-risk, high-reward move for Barca. They will hope that he can get back to his best, and fire them into the Champions League places in La Liga.