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Replacing Alexis Sanchez with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was Arsene Wenger’s greatest parting gift

On reflection getting rid of Arsenal's best player was a complete masterstroke

Arsene Wenger will rightly go down as a Premier League icon.

Although many will say that during his later years the team was unbalanced and incapable of a league challenge.

However, in January Wenger might have completed the best transfer business of his final years that could posthumously bring a title to the Emirates.


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How tall is Wenger?

PA:Empics Sport
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How tall is Wenger?

The mood at Arsenal reached rock bottom in January when Mesut Ozil was wavering on signing a new contract and Alexis Sanchez was doing everything he could to get out of there.

Arsenal were refusing to pay the wages on offer in Manchester and when United swooped City for Sanchez’s signing, many Gooners thought they were waving farewell to their chances of a Champions League spot for the next several years.

Man United announced what they thought was a coup with that piano video and with that Arsenal’s best player had left the club.

I don’t care who you are wearing your own brand is never cool

Getty - Contributor
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I don’t care who you are wearing your own brand is never cool

However, just nine days later Arsenal loosened the purse strings to land Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in a real statement signing.

They dropped a record £56m on Auba just six months after breaking their transfer record to bring in Alexandre Lacazette.

All Arsenal fans owe Wenger a debt for Aubameyang’s arrival at the club knowing he would only get to play with his toy for half a season.

Nearly a year on, replacing Sanchez with Aubameyang looks like a complete masterstroke from Wenger.

This is just plain unfair

Getty - Contributor
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This is just plain unfair

Sanchez managed just one goal in his first 10 games which came in a routine home win against Huddersfield.

The Chilean made 18 appearances for United last season and looked a shadow of his former self in Mourinho’s strict system.

He’s developed a reputation for constantly giving the ball away – against Leicester earlier this season he lost possession 23 times, more than any other United player.

But as one star fell, another rose.

Aubameyang settled to life at the Emirates immediately, scoring on his third game to kickstart a run of five goals in four games.

PEA linked up with Alexandre Lacazette to form the partnership now known as LacaBang™ and finished the season with an impressive 10 goals in 13 league games.

£56million well spent.

“Please take me with you Arsene”

Getty - Contributor
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“Please take me with you Arsene”

With Mourinho’s inability to play fluent attacking football, Sanchez went from one of the most exciting players in the league to a symbol of the discontent at Old Trafford.

This season the opposite trajectory of both players has been even starker.

Aubameyang has played nearly twice as many minutes as Sanchez and has scored nine goals this season to the Chilean’s one.

Player of the month for October? You bet.

Wenger shaking the hand of the man he swindled

Times Newspapers Ltd
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Wenger shaking the hand of the man he swindled

At first losing their best player would have caused Arsenal fans all sorts of consternation but the fact he was replaced with Aubameyang was the best parting gift Wenger could have possibly left.

He played United like a master puppeteer and now Unai Emery is reaping the rewards.

The addition of Lucas Torreira in midfield and Granit Xhaka playing like an adult combined with their lethal attacking options has seen Arsenal win 10 in a row and make a claim as favourites for a Champions League spot.

Bravo Wenger, bravo.


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