Betfair Ambassador discusses Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's potential transfer to Barcelona or Madrid and gives his views on the latest round of Souness v Pogba...
"You have to ask if Aubameyang is happy at Arsenal and, if he isn't, I can understand why. Football is about winning trophies and we all know Arsenal are a team that play attractive football but in the end they have been left empty-handed quite a lot of times."
The biggest factor for Aubameyang will be winning trophies
This week there have been lots of rumours surrounding the future of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, it would be a massive blow for Arsenal if he left the club. In my opinion they need to do everything possible to stop him from leaving. I watched him closely at Dortmund and at Arsenal, and for me he is a great player with his speed, his movement and his goals. He is also their captain and a really important player for the team, he is out of contract next year and they should do everything possible to keep him.
If he wants to leave, it will be difficult for teams to sign him because Arsenal will want a lot of money for him, and of course he is worth it. In the current situation teams are looking seriously at their budget and I think it will be hard for clubs to afford him. But, I have no doubt that teams will be looking at his situation and taking a lot of interest in it.
You have to ask if Aubameyang is happy at Arsenal and, if he isn't, I can understand why. Football is about winning trophies and we all know Arsenal are a team that play attractive football but in the end they have been left empty-handed quite a lot of times. That can be frustrating for a player.
Also, the overall performance of the team can bother you sometimes. Aubameyang is a striker so goals will be important for him, the way he plays, how he plays and how he feels, the only person who can tell you about that is him. Before the lockdown he was showing great spirit and playing for the team. I think he does like it at Arsenal and of course being a footballer in London is great, so maybe he will stay.
The way of life, the way football is conducted, his team mates and the life his family have in London, are all things that could make him stay. Being a footballer in London is great, and it's one of the best things ever, especially when you play for a big team like Arsenal. The only things he is missing are trophies.
Critical time in Aubameyang's career
He is also getting into that critical time in a player's career when you get over 30, but it's not all doom and gloom for a pacey striker. People think that when you get older you get slower but look at look at Jamie Vardy, he is 33 and he is certainly an exception to this idea. He's as speedy as ever and scoring goals and I like that a lot about him. I hope that Aubameyang can stay in form and take care of himself so he can keep that speed which is a major factor in his game.
Barcelona and Real Madrid are the favourites to sign him and as a play in that situation your head is going to spin. Aubameyang needs to calculate his options to see if he's going to benefit and be happy moving to these types of teams. From his perspective, either of them is a good move because they are two of the best teams in the world, but then you have to look at their line ups, which include Messi, Suarez, Griezmann, Dembele, Fati, Benzema, Bale, Hazard. Would Aubameyang play much in either of those squads? He's not getting any younger, he needs to be at a club where he is going to play and at Arsenal he is the captain. But the biggest factor in all of this is winning trophies.
Souness and Pogba's Greek Tragedy continues
Once again there has been another coming together with Graeme Souness and Paul Pogba. I think this is pretty personal now, you can sense it the way these two talk about each other. I find it all too funny, it's like Greek Tragedy.
Back in my early days, even when I was in my later playing days, social media wasn't so big. It wasn't like nowadays when players can easily get abused and you can see the opinion of pundits everywhere and it can affect you. We are all humans and we can all say 'it doesn't bother you' but trust me, it does.
It is necessary for a player to hear an outside opinion, but it must come from someone who has been there and done that, someone credible who knows what they are talking about and what it is like to be a footballer. However, some people talk for the sake of talking, so that they get noticed, and that can be irritating and disrespectful.
With Souness and Pogba, I find it all a little strange, but when someone constantly criticises you, of course you are going to snap. Even if it is good criticism, if it is constantly aimed at you and it doesn't matter what you are doing, at some point you are going to be like: 'Wait a minute, am I the only player on the f**** planet here?' It doesn't matter who the other person is, you are going to say something back and defend yourself, like what Pogba is doing, it's normal.
There were lots of things that used to p** me off when I played, if I had a bad game or I didn't score I would look in the newspaper and there would be someone saying s*** things about me. You read comments, you hear people talking about you and then, when you have a good game and score a couple of goals, it's a 'coincidence' or it was 'against a weak opposition' and stuff like this.
Of course that gets you thinking, for some people no matter what you do, it is never enough. You try to not pay attention to these things, but it is impossible to do, especially nowadays with social media you are surrounded with opinions. It was the same for me and my colleagues, there was always someone that didn't like us.
I have also experienced being a pundit. I liked doing it and maybe I will do it again. I always try not to be too judgmental because I have been there and I know how it is, of course I can easily rip into some players and say this, this and this so that it makes for better TV viewings, but I know how difficult it is at times. It might not look like a player is putting that much effort in but people don't see behind the scenes, so I try to be a voice of reason, even when some players probably do deserve a bit more criticism. I know that every self-respecting footballer, who wants to grow and develop, will know straight away if they don't play well and they don't need anyone to tell them.