Arsenal

Arteta left to rue Xavi’s £40.5m transfer genius that would have set Arsenal clear of Tottenham

Ousmane Dembele and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's recent form give Arsenal a reminder of what might have been if January's events had taken a different turn

Arsenal have been given an insight into what life at the club could have been like if transfer window moves had taken took a different turn. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been firing on all cylinders for Barcelona since his winter switch, which has also triggered the amazing form of Ousmane Dembele.

The pair first teamed up together during their time at Borussia Dortmund during the 2016/2017 season under current Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel. It was at the German club where they created a special friendship.

It seemed that Dembele’s career at Barcelona was all but over in the January transfer window, but Aubameyang’s arrival has reignited the Frenchman’s career with the La Liga side. And it is a partnership the Arsenal fans could have enjoyed, with Dembele having been linked with a move to north London on more than one occasion.

Dembele has one goal and eight assists in his last six La Liga appearances which led to him receiving a stand ovation from Camp Nou crowd after Barcelona’s 1-0 victory over Sevilla on Sunday evening. This is a major difference from the jeers he was receiving from the same crowd just two months earlier when the January window slammed shut.

Coincidently, Aubameyang has also been thriving alongside Dembele, as the 32-year-old has scored seven goals in the Catalan’s side last six games in the league. This shows that the close bond between the pair has paid dividends on the pitch. This could have been seen in north London, as according to Spanish news outlet El Chringuito, Dembele’s agent had a meeting with Arsenal, and with the Frenchman’s contract set to expire at the end of the season, he will be available on a free transfer.

The winger had been criticised in the past for his injury issues since joining Barcelona in 2018. But since the closure of the January transfer window, he has shown the form that is reminiscent of his time at Borussia Dortmund which persuaded the Catalan side to pay £100million for his services. Now valued at £27million on transfermarkt.com, with Aubameyang at £13.5million, it is a £40.5million masterstroke from Barcelona boss Xavi that Arsenal may live to regret.

Dembele joined Dortmund to team up with Aubameyang from French side Rennes in 2016 before the German club lifted the DFB Pokal trophy in 2017, with both players having a pivotal impact on the team’s success. Aubameyang and Dembele would both depart Germany during the 2017/18 season, but their friendship wouldn’t end there. The pair were constantly seen pictured together, and it left fans dreaming of a potential reunion at Arsenal, particularly when Dembele was photographed in London with Aubameyang and fellow Arsenal stars Alexandre Lacazette and Matteo Guendouzi in the summer of 2018.

A transfer window would not go by without Dembele being linked with the Gunners and the partnership could have potentially been seen at Arsenal if Aubameyang stayed at the club, and Dembele decided to move to the Premier League, with rumours circling up to the last summer transfer window.

The Gabonese international even came to the defence of the Frenchman in 2019, after he tweeted his displeasure towards the Borussia Dortmund CEO, Hans-Joachim Watzke. This was because he had hinted that both players left the club for financial gain.

The newfound form for both of these players is unfortunately a what could have been moment for Arsenal, as they are both now seemingly settled in Spain. However, the Gunners must not dwell too much on the January transfer window and focus on Champions League qualification, which would be seen as an overachievement for Mikel Arteta’s side if they are to finish in the top four.