Arsenal at risk of losing their own Wanye Rooney

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Arsenal risk losing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang if they fail to treat him like Manchester United treated Wayne Rooney.

“I talk to who I want, when I want.”

Those were the emphatic words of Arsenal star – and captain – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang just hours after rumours surfaced suggesting the club had stopped him from hanging out with AFTV member Troopz.

The word on the street is that the Gunners don’t like the duo’s relationship. They are also said to be baffled by Aubameyang’s decision to like social media posts from AFTV when, more often that not, they’re critical of the north London side.

Certainly, Arsenal think the controversial YouTube channel has played a role in the constant doom and gloom mood that seems to surround the Emirates, both these days and when Arsene Wenger ruled the roost.

But gagging your talisman isn’t going to help things.

While Arsenal have a right to be annoyed at Aubameyang, they need to keep him happy. He’s the only player at the Emirates right now with the spark needed to arrest their current slump.

And they should treat the Gabon international like how Manchester United treated Wayne Rooney during his time at the club.

The England international touched down from Everton in 2004 and, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, became one of the Red Devils’ main men.

Rooney suddenly jumped above Ruud van Nistelrooy in the popularity stakes and stayed there.

And when Ronaldo left, he became United’s main man full stop. Nobody was more important, nobody more capable of filling the void left by the Portugal international’s departure to Real Madrid.

But while Rooney was key for United, he would often make the headlines for the wrong reasons as well.

In September 2010, at a time where he was looking to leave Old Trafford having left Sir Alex Ferguson crushed, he was rumoured to have cheated on wife Coleen.

For a club like United, who like to insist they’re family friendly, it was a blow.

So too were the rumours about a threesome that came out a year later.

United also had to do some good PR work to repair Rooney’s image when pictures of him urinating in public emerged.

And they had to do out up with a video of him being KO’d by Phil Bardsley in his own kitchen back in 2015 when Louis van Gaal was in charge.

But the ironic thing was, United were willing to let things go.

They’d take internal action, of course. A fine or a missed game here or there to make it clear they weren’t totally prepared to put up with it all.

But the fact is they were.

United could forgive the misdemeanours of Rooney because of how important he was to the side.

He was a key figure as the club won five Premier League titles between 2007 and 2013, as well as the 2008 Champions League crown.

And while Aubameyang has nowhere near the negative publicity, Arsenal must do the same.

The Gabon international is someone who needs to feel loved, wanted and respected. He also likes having freedom – which is why he clashed with Thomas Tuchel so much at Borussia Dortmund.

And Arsenal need to be careful how they treat their main man, particularly given his contractual situation.

Unai Emery wants the 30-year-old to stay put but Aubameyang is reportedly stalling on an offer of a new deal to wait and see where they finish this season.

Restricting who he makes friends with will certainly do nothing to help Arsenal’s cause.

And while their stance is admirable, and perhaps understandable, it means they risk pushing Aubameyang closer to the exit door this summer.

 

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