The 27-year-old has had a phenomenal last 18 months in Germany, and it has been quoted that Dortmund will be looking for around £70 million for his services. As such there are not many clubs with the financial clout to land the Gabon international, and one would think he is making the move in an attempt to win major honours, ruling out any wealthy Chinese clubs.
Two teams who certainly fit the bill for Aubameyang are Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain. Both are happy to spend big on the world’s best attacking talent in an attempt to reach the summit of club football. It is unsurprising, therefore, that they are being linked with a move for the striker, and here we will look at how he would fit into their teams, and whether he would be a success.
Aubameyang is a striker much more in the mould of Cavani than Benzema.
Aubameyang’s key asset is undoubtedly his goal-scoring ability, and there have long been murmurings that Madrid are looking for an upgrade on current centre-forward Karim Benzema. There had been a hope that Alvaro Morata would be the man to step into his shoes after a successful spell at Juventus, but he has been unable to oust the Frenchman so far this term.
The Dortmund striker is, however, a very different player to either Benzema or Morata, with much of their work coming from outside the box. Under Thomas Tuchel, the team is built around a strategy of getting the ball to Aubameyang in good goal scoring opportunities, yet that would not be the case in Spain.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the main man at Real Madrid and, despite now entering the twilight years of his career, looks set to remain so for the foreseeable future having signed a contract until 2021. If anyone will steal the crown of the former Manchester United player, it will surely be Gareth Bale, who was in such fine form before sustaining a long-term injury earlier in the season.
Benzema’s role at Madrid is therefore much more complex than being an out-and-out goalscorer. He is often charged with coming deep to collect the ball with his back to goal, often looking for Ronaldo, rather than the goal, when in the box.
He has mustered just five goals in 15 appearances this season, and has created 14 chances. His pass accuracy is 82%, a high number for a striker, emphasising the deep-lying role that he plays.
Signing Aubameyang would therefore require a total change of system for Zinedine Zidane and his team, as his strength lies in profiting from others’ hard work rather than putting in the graft himself. Benzema’s play creates space for the likes of Ronaldo and Bale, but Aubameyang would want to take up these positions himself. The French international would likely find himself surplus to requirements and whilst a front three of Ronaldo, Bale and Aubameyang looks good on paper, there have to be doubts if it would come off on the pitch.
There is little question, however, that he would score more goals than the current Madrid strikers are managing, but there is certainly an issue as to whether he would fit in at the club. When Zidane’s team do play on the counter, the partnership of Bale and Aubameyang would be electric, but so long as Ronaldo is at Madrid there is little room for other match-winners, so this signing would possibly prove a bad fit for both player and club.
Unai Emery has endured a difficult start to life at the Parc des Princes, with his team languishing in third place in Ligue 1, a competition they have grown accustomed to winning in recent years. This poor showing has not dampened their ambitions for the future though, with the Spanish manager having been brought in to bring European success rather than domestic.
There are many similarities to their attacking philosophy and Dortmund’s. Aubameyang is currently supported by a wealth of creative talent such as Mario Gotze, Marco Reus and Ousmane Dembele, and it is a similar set-up at PSG. Here it is Lucas Moura, Angel Di Maria and now Julian Draxler who are charged with getting the ball to Edinson Cavani in a goalscoring position.
The Uruguayan striker is often mocked for his finishing ability with the ball at his feet, but he has so far scored 21 goals in 20 appearances, a fantastic return at any level. His key skill is his movement off the ball, so adept at getting himself into a goal scoring position.
Aubameyang has so far managed 16 in 16 Bundesliga games for a team who are also falling short of expectations domestically. Like Cavani, he has a fantastic ability to create space for himself in the box, but he also has the composure and skill to finish the chances well.
Aubameyang is one of the top finishers in European football
A move to the French capital would therefore enable the marksman to focus on doing what he does best – scoring goals. Cavani’s record, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s before him, is testament to the fact that PSG is a fantastic club to play for if a high goal tally is a top priority. Replacing a striker in Cavani for such a sum may not be the best business decision, though, especially when looking at how similar their striking output actually is.
Whilst on a footballing level PSG seems a good fit, there is always the question of whether moving to the Ligue 1 team is something of a waste of talent considering just how comfortable they have been domestically in recent years. The emergence of Nice and Monaco this season means that this is no longer the case, so one could argue that PSG’s own struggles could end up helping them in the transfer market as Ligue 1 looks a more competitive competition.
In many ways, therefore, PSG represents the perfect move for Aubameyang. The type of football that they play would provide him with the service he requires, and there would be little onus on him to engage with play outside the final third. It would take a brave man to turn down Real Madrid though and, should they come calling, we may have to see both player and club adapt to ensure that the large investment is worth it.