The January transfer window closed with Arsenal dramatically allowing their former club captain and striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to join Barcelona on a free transfer
The 32-year-old has moved to the Camp Nou after the Gunners waived any transfer fee in order to make the move permanent.
It was a move that was met with criticism from sections of Arsenal’s support, who were frustrated that the club would allow the striker to leave as a free agent.
The Gabonese striker had 18 months remaining on his contract in North London – which had been agreed in the summer of 2020 – and that was due to cost Arsenal a whopping £25million.
It has since emerged that Arsenal will pay Aubameyang a whopping sum of £7million which was required to cancel his contract as Arsenal save on his weekly wage of £350k – comfortably the highest salary at the club and a significant drain on the club’s resources.
The arrival of Aubameyang followed Dani Alves becoming the first signing of boss Xavi at the Camp Nou and the signing of Ferran Torres from Manchester City for an initial fee of £46million, while Adama Traore joined on loan from Wolves.
Without any major outgoings in Barca’s attacking ranks – despite their attempts to offload forward Ousmane Dembele – means they now have a problem.
Aubameyang is the 10 th forward in the senior squad at the Camp Nou with only three positions on the team available in Xavi’s 4-3-3 system.
Ferran Torres, Luuk de Jong, Memphis Depay, Ansu Fati, Dembele, Martin Braithwaite, Aubameyang, Traore and the youngsters Abde and Ferran Jutgla will all be available for selection.
Notably, five of these players arrived at the club this season – with Memphis and de Jong arriving at the start of the campaign.
On the right side of the front three, Torres will likely be the most prominent player to start but Traore and Dembele are also strongest in this position.
Ansu Fati, Abde and Memphis would compete for the one position on the left side of the attacking trident while centrally, Aubameyang will have competition from de Jong and Braithwaite.
Of course, a number of these players can play in different positions across the front three – with Memphis and Torres both being comfortable in a central role, for instance.
Neither Abde nor Jutgla, the two players promoted from the club’s B team this campaign, are registered to play for Xavi’s side in the Europa League.
Barca will face Italian side Napoli in a tricky knockout match for a chance to play in the Round of 16 of the competition after being eliminated from the group stages of the Champions League.