Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s time at Arsenal has delivered plenty of positives and enough highlights to fill several reels. Vital efforts registered in the 2020 FA Cup final and subsequent Community Shield outing allowed major silverware to be secured and light to flick through at the end of a dark tunnel.

The Gabon international striker has, however, become something of an unwelcome distraction in the present. There is no questioning his ability or value to any given cause when abiding by the rules and giving his full attention to collective efforts.

If he is stuck on the sidelines after being frozen out, then he is of no help to anybody. Mikel Arteta has matured considerably as a coach across his stint in the Emirates Stadium dugout and has made it clear that reputations will count for nothing if a line is not towed.

To the immense credit of a Spanish tactician and the rest of those at his disposal, Arsenal have not really missed their latest iconic No.14 during his enforced spell watching on from afar. Positive progress has been made with others stepping up to the mark.

Should you visit Space Casino now, the Gunners can be found at 37/20 to secure a top-four finish, with those in North London daring to dream that a return ticket to the prestigious Champions League party can be secured after enduring a five-year absence.

Hard work and pressing to the last.

We’re proud of your effort and desire, lads pic.twitter.com/z6sdrzJjHY

Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 1, 2022

Youthful exuberance is being embraced by Arteta and Co, with long-term planning offering renewed hope for the present and future. Some faces no longer fit, and Aubameyang could find himself excluded on a more permanent basis.

Bright future

Questions of a man that has been stripped of captaincy duties have also helped to narrow focus on the transfer front at Arsenal. With uncertainty also shrouding the respective futures of Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah, something needs to be done.

Cue endless rounds of speculation regarding who could be next to make their way through the arrivals lounge at the Emirates. Movement is expected at some stage, in both directions, but it remains to be seen who heads where and when.

The Gunners certainly appear to be sticking with an approach that has served them well in recent windows. With Aubameyang starting to fade into the background, a new breed of attacking talent is being sought.

Arsenal may have been forced into that corner somewhat, but they are coming out swinging. Links to the likes of Alexander Isak, Jonathan David, Ollie Watkins and Dominic Calvert-Lewin make plenty of sense and should see excitement levels nudged up another notch.

pic.twitter.com/XEFUREl0j6

— AUBA (@Auba) October 23, 2021

Edu and the rest of those charged with the task of getting fresh faces on board are looking to put the foundations in place on which sustained success over a long period of time can be built. Quick fixes are now a thing of the past, with more faith being shown in promising potential than proven pedigree.

Aubameyang fits into the latter of those categories and, despite having close to 100 goals for the club to his name, is becoming part of Arsenal’s past. The Gunners have shown that they can thrive without him, with benefits being found in a situation that initially threatened to pose a number of problems.

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