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Aubameyang joins Barcelona as free agent after Arsenal exit

Aubameyang joins Barcelona as free agent after Arsenal exit

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. (File photo: AFP/Glyn Kirk)

Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has joined Barcelona on a free transfer after terminating his contract with Premier League team Arsenal, the LaLiga club said on Wednesday (Feb 2).

Barcelona said Aubameyang will sign a contract until June 2025, with an option to agree departure on Jun 30, 2023. The Catalan club have set his release clause at €100 million (US$113.08 million).

"Shortly the club will provide details of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's presentation as a first team player," Barcelona's website said, while on Twitter the club posted "It's Auba time!".

Aubameyang joined Arsenal from German club Borussia Dortmund in 2018 for a fee of about £58 million (US$79 million) as former manager Arsene Wenger's last signing.

He immediately became a fan favourite and went on to score 92 goals in 163 games.

His crowning moment was captaining Arsenal to their 14th FA Cup in 2020, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over Chelsea, having scored a brace against Manchester City in the semi-final.

The 32-year-old striker was made permanent captain last season after signing a contract extension in 2020, but his Arsenal career began to turn sour and he left by mutual consent on Tuesday with 18 months remaining on his contract.

Despite being Arsenal's highest earner, with wages reported to be £350,000 per week, he has not played for the north London club since December after manager Mikel Arteta stripped him of the captaincy due to a disciplinary breach.

Aubameyang was also sent home early from the Africa Cup of Nations after the Gabonese Football Federation said cardiac lesions were found in tests conducted in Cameroon following a positive COVID-19 test.

His signing follows the arrival of winger Adama Traore on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers as Barcelona look to rebuild after the departure of Lionel Messi to Paris St Germain.

In a quest to strengthen their attacking options, Barcelona also signed Spanish forward Ferran Torres from Manchester City for around €55 million (US$61.34 million) in the transfer window.

The club has also tried to offload French winger Ousmane Dembele, who has not played since their Super Cup defeat by Real Madrid earlier this month.

Barcelona are fifth in the LaLiga standings, 15 points behind leaders and rivals Real Madrid.

They are at home to Atletico Madrid this weekend. 

Source: Reuters/zl

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