Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ‘proud and happy’ to join Barcelona as he targets Champions League

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says he is ‘proud and happy’ to join Barcelona (Lindsey Parnaby/PA Images). (PA Archive)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has targeted taking Barcelona back into the Champions League after the striker completed his free transfer from Arsenal.

The Gabon forward declared himself “proud and happy” to have joined the Catalan giants, with the move confirmed a day after Arsenal announced they had released Aubameyang from his contract.

The 32-year-old former Gunners captain was released by the club on Monday, having not made an appearance since being disciplined in December.

Aubameyang arrived in Barcelona on Monday morning, sparking rumours of a loan move to the LaLiga side although confusion reigned as no agreement had been reached as deadline day drew on.

Talks progressed during Monday and Arsenal announced the following day that they had agreed to allow Aubameyang to leave the club by mutual consent.

He could yet make his Barcelona debut against Atletico Madrid this weekend as the pair battle it out for the Champions League spots in LaLiga with Barcelona already dropping down into the Europa League this season.

Speaking on an interview on Barcelona’s official Twitter feed, Aubameyang made it clear what his aims were having signed a deal until 2025.

“I’m very proud, especially because my family is Spanish from my mother’s side,” he said. “I’m really proud and happy to be here. My main goal is to help the team and give everything I can to bring the team back into the Champions League and stuff like that.

“I’m just happy to be here and I will try to give everything. It’s amazing to have him (Xavi) as a coach, he’s been a fantastic player as everyone knows and I’m sure as a coach he will bring us something that we will learn.”

Barcelona confirmed his arrival at the Nou Camp on Wednesday morning, after pictures of him training with his new -team mates had already surfaced.

“FC Barcelona and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have reached an agreement for the player to join the Club after the striker terminated his contract with Arsenal FC,” their statement read.

My main goal is to help the team and give everything I can to bring the team back into the Champions League and stuff like that.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

“The play will sign a contract until 30 June 2025 with an option to agree departure on 30June 2023 and his buy out clause will be set at 100 million euros.

“Shortly the Club will provide details of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s presentation as a first team player.”

The Gabon international returned home early from the Africa Cup of Nations due to health reasons but was not part of Mikel Arteta’s plans at Arsenal after he was dropped for returning home late from an agreed trip abroad.

The make-up of the Barcelona deal, which essentially saw Aubameyang released from his £250,000-a-week basic salary at the Emirates Stadium, meant he could join the Catalan giants outside of the transfer window.

Arsenal posted a tribute video to the man who scored both goals and captained the side in the 2020 FA Cup final win over Chelsea.

Aubameyang, who hit 92 goals in 163 appearances for the Gunners since moving from Borussia Dortmund four years ago, took to Instagram on Tuesday to thank the club.

“Thank you for making London home for myself and my family for the past four years,” he wrote. “We went through ups and downs together and your support meant everything to me.

“Having the chance to win trophies and the honour of being the captain of this club is something I will forever keep in my heart.

“I have always been 100% focused and committed on doing everything I can for this club which is why leaving without a real goodbye hurts – but that is football.

“I’m sad I did not get the chance to help my teammates in the last few weeks, but I have nothing but respect for this club and truly wish all my guys and the fans all the best and many successful years in the future! Love, Auba”