This post is inspired by a comment put up by Rasp late last night:
“I’d take £80m for Auba if it meant we could buy our own Virgil van Dijk. After all, we have a lot of emerging young attacking talent. It should be noted that none of Auba, Laca or Ozil featured against Bournemouth…”
When I read it I was shocked. Shocked, I tell you!
Sell our best striker? Sell the player who is the only consistent goal threat in a team struggling to score? Has Rasp gone mad?
The context, obviously, is the torrent of rumours suggesting that Catalonia’s finest are set on prizing away our Gabonese crown jewel and installing him at the Camp Nou.
And yet… the more you think about it, the more there may be sense in cashing in now.
For a start, we know that despite having an owner with a fortune that would make Louis Quatorze blush (and who is married to a wife whose fortune would make Marie Antoinette green with envy), when it comes to splashing the cash on new players we tend to suffer from “long pockets, short arm” syndrome.
We aspire to be a “break even” club, so we can safely assume that there will be no big outlays on world class players until we get some world class wonga coming into the coffers.
Then there’s the question of whether Auba is currently irreplaceable. Our young up-and-comers have been one of the real positives of this season (Unai Emery deserves some credit for allowing several of them to break into the first team). In Auba’s absence, could Martinelli, Saka and Nelson make up the goals we’d lose? It’s a big ask, but who knows… maybe.
But I think Rasp’s point was that given the quality of these young stars, we would be better deploying our resources elsewhere – with a Virgil van Dijk type of world class defender or, perhaps (as Rasp later suggested) a new Santi Cazorla?
My instincts are still to keep Auba for the remainder of this season but, if the likes of Martinelli and Saka continue to progress, consider selling him in the summer (he is under contract until 2022).
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