Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, also known as PEA or ‘Auba’ has already mentioned that he would like to emulate Thierry Henry as an Arsenal great. They were both wingers at the start of their careers who developed a killer instinct in front of goal. While Thierry developed his art at Highbury under the guidance of Arsene Wenger, Auba comes to Arsenal Football Club in his prime and as the finished article. Anyone connected with the club will be hoping he can emulate his predecessor’s success while playing in the same number 14 shirt.
Auba was born in Laval, France in June 1989. His mother, Margarita Crespo Aubameyang has roots in Spain while his Gabonese father, Pierre (nicknamed ‘Yaya’), played professional football for a variety of clubs including Le Havre, Toulouse and Nice before ending his career at another French club, Rouen. He also made 80 appearances for the Gabon national team as solid defender and national captain.
His grandfather took Auba to his first serious training sessions at Laval aged 11. But it was not until his father took him into the first-team dressing room at Nice that the bug really bit. “Something changed in me. I had had the dream of being a pro. But it was a dream, lots of kids have that,” Aubameyang explained. “But when I breathed in the air of the dressing room, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.”
After finishing his playing career, Pierre Senior worked as a coach for AC Milan and Auba joined his two half-brothers, Catalina and Willy at The AC Milan academy. His early career spluttered and loans to Dijon, Lille and Monaco weren’t as successful as they might have been.
By 2011 AC Milan had decided the young winger could move on. St Etienne coach Christophe Galtier saw huge potential in the lightning speed of the young Gabonese player (reportedly clocked at AC Milan running 30m in 3.7 seconds – faster than a 2009 Usain Bolt) and after an initial loan period, the Ligue 1 side signed him on a permanent deal. Thirty-five league goals in just 73 league appearances over the next two seasons proved Galtier absolutely right.
Aubameyang’s love of sports cars, jewel-encrusted boots and outlandish clothing may take the headlines but he is a loving father to son Curtys and often dedicates goals to his son by wearing superhero masks in the celebration. According to his close friend Christophe Jallet, “Aubameyang is a quiet lad who doesn’t visit nightclubs, doesn’t drink alcohol and always dreams about football.”
Dortmund had come to notice that Auba had developed a cold-blooded goalscorer’s instinct in front of goal and signed him in July 2013. He made a dream debut a month later scoring a hattrick against FC Augsburg.
Auba’s Dortmund career has launched him into the world spotlight, scoring 141 goals in 213 appearances for the Bundesliga side. He won the German equivalent of the Golden Boot award in the 2016/7 season with his 31 league goals. Fittingly the trophy is a cannon and seems almost prescient of his Arsenal career to come.
Arsenal’s wantaway Chilean’s transfer to Manchester has led to Auba’s ex-Dortmund colleague Henrikh Mkhitaryan also being welcomed to the home of football. Let’s hope their previously successful partnership can be fruitful once again.
Welcome to Arsenal, Auba. We all hope your stay with us is both productive and joyful.