ARSENAL have terminated Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s contract to allow their axed skipper to join Barcelona on a permanent transfer for FREE.
The Gabon forward, 32, ‘surprised’ the Gunners by flying to the Catalan capital on Monday morning to force through a move – exactly four years after moving to England.
But a loan deal appeared to collapse with the two sides unable to negotiate Auba’s mammoth £350,000-a-week wages.
Arsenal refused to pay the majority of the money if their former captain was playing for the LaLiga giants.
But just when it looked as though the striker would be forced to return to London with his tail between his legs, Arsenal and Auba struck a remarkable compromise just three hours before the transfer window closes.
Arsenal simply allowed the outcast to leave, cancelling his contract as they did with Mesut Ozil a year ago.
Aubameyang severed all ties with Arsenal and will not be returning to the Emirates.
And that paved the way for Barcelona to negotiate directly with the player, who has essentially become a free agent.
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There is an agreement for a permanent deal for an initial six months – with the option of a further year.
It means Arsenal will save themselves £26million in the wages which Aubameyang was due over the remaining 18 months of his contract.
But they have also written off a player who cost them £60m when he joined from Borussia Dortmund on this day in 2018.
It is understood that Aubameyang – the Gunners’ sixth January departure – is taking a massive pay cut to sign for Barcelona, who are operating under strict FFP regulations after reporting a £1.6billion financial loss last year.
The final details of his new paperwork were ironed out in Spain.
Aubameyang completed a medical before the 11pm deadline, too.
Hospital staff were told to prepare for the striker’s arrival to get it all done and dusted in time.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta earlier insisted the club would ‘work until the last minute’ to get a deal over the line.
And that’s exactly what they did, finalising the move late into the night.
Aubameyang’s initially-premature arrival in Barcelona prompted comparisons with Peter Odemwingie’s ill-fated attempt to join Queens Park Rangers in January 2013.
The Nigerian was pictured in his car at Loftus Road, only for no deal to materialise.
Seeing the funny side after the comparison was pointed out to him on Twitter, Odemwingie himself joked: “Someone sent me the first picture.
“Am I passing the award on? Aubameyang just make sure you ask Aguero for advice.”
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