Thierry Henry has admitted that he would not blame Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, should the attacker choose to seek a move away from Arsenal this summer.
Gabonese hitman Aubameyang has been on the books of Arsenal for a little over two years now.
The 30-year-old made the move to north London from Borussia Dortmund in January of 2018, for a then-club-record fee of £56 million.
And to say that he has since gone on to prove himself a hit would be putting it lightly.
All told, across 97 appearances in the red of Arsenal, Aubameyang has found the net a hugely-impressive 61 times, marking a ratio of just under 2 goals every 3 games.
In fact, his 50th strike for the Gunners, which came back in November versus Wolves, saw ‘Auba’ etch his name into the history books of the capital giants:
🏟 78 Games
⚽️ 50 Goals
🎯 12 Assists
— SPORF (@Sporf) November 2, 2019
Aubameyang’s ever-increasing importance to the Arsenal cause, meanwhile, also saw the pacy attacker rewarded in November.
After former boss Unai Emery announced that Granit Xhaka had been stripped of the club’s captaincy, the Spanish tactician opted to name Aubameyang as his side’s new leader.
BREAKING: Unai Emery confirms Granit Xhaka has been replaced by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as Arsenal captain pic.twitter.com/WB6deoRbLb
— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 5, 2019
‘How am I going to tell him to stay?’
Despite his integral role in Arsenal’s squad, though, speculation has nevertheless been rife all season that Aubameyang could soon be on the move.
With the Gunners again looking likely to miss out on Champions League football for next season, the African was hotly-tipped for a Barcelona switch this past January, with a fresh Blaugrana swoop in the summer not ruled out.
And one individual who would certainly not blame Aubameyang if the former Dortmund man does opt to seek pastures new ahead of next season is Thierry Henry.
Speaking in an interview with Sky Sports this week, Gunners icon Henry was drawn on Aubameyang’s future at the Emirates.
And though the Frenchman was quick to acknowledge how badly the electric attacker’s goals would be missed should he move on, Henry also admitted that he would not blame Aubameyang for departing north London, having done so himself in 2007:
‘Everybody will do what they have to do. How am I going to tell someone to stay when I left? As an Arsenal fan, you want him to stay, but as a football player, he will assess the situation with his family, with his dad who I know also and will see what’s the best for them.’
‘If you’re an Arsenal man, you don’t want him to leave but also the guy has a career. I don’t know what’s in his head and where he wants to go, but all I know is that we are definitely going to miss his goals if he does leave. He does score goals and if you take the goals of Aubameyang away, it’s a tough one.’
‘I respect the decisions of people, I respect what they have to go through and what dream or desire they have but any Arsenal fan would be crazy to say he should leave. We don’t want him to leave but on the other side, you have to understand that the guy may need to see something else.’