Listen: I've said some things on this blog. A lot of the stuff I've said, I've said in jest. But just so we're clear: I'm not joking when I say there is no Tottenham Hotspur transfer target I want more than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Name: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Team: Association Sportive Saint-Étienne Loire
League: Ligue 1
Primary position: Hard to say. The front one, I guess?
Can also play: All the other front ones.
Should I copy-and-paste the WhoScored interview with Aubameyang, complete with stats? Because that shit essentially makes the case for me.
Even though Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored 21 goals in all competitions during the 2011-2012 season, you would have been forgiven if you'd approached a possible Spurs transfer for the Gabonese international during the summer of 2012 with some skepticism. After all, Leandro Damião looms large in all our imaginations, Fernando Llorente was still an option, and Emmanuel Adebayor had put in a decent shift at the striker position the previous season. Why take a risk with a young striker in an emerging league who more than doubled his goal-scoring total from the previous season? Couldn't Aubameyang just be a flash in the pan? What would happen when Ligue 1 defenses got their stuff together and decided to mark the guy?
Well, if you had doubts before, you can pretty much put those to bed now. Aubameyang has again scored 21 goals in all competitions this year. (By the by, do you know who scored more goals than PEA in France? Zlatan Ibrahimovic. That's it.) And here's the thing: It's not just that the man can score goals. Aubameyang is also tied for joint fourth in Ligue 1 in assists with nine this season, feeding Brandão and other Saint-Étienne players at an astonishing rate. His dad is a former scout for AC Milan. He's fast, he's strong, he's intelligent. He's as good on both the left and right wings as he is in the middle of a 4-3-3. I mean, just look at his work:
Aubameyang has mentioned Dortmund and Milan as dream destinations, and last summer he revealed he was creeped out by Levy & Co.'s approaches to his father. I think it's pretty clear Spurs are not on PEA's radar, or at least not in a positive way, which would make a transfer far less likely. With today's rumor that Newcastle are interested in Aubameyang's services, maybe it's time for Levy to make amends with the Aubameyang family and sign him up.
Likely price: £10M
Probability that valuation is wrong: If Spurs get involved in a bidding war with one of the continental giants, that number could go up significantly.
Team's willingness to sell: Who can say? I mean, Saint-Étienne would take a major step backwards without PEA, but money is money. If the fee is right, I have a hard time seeing les Verts turning us down.
Fit at Tottenham Hotspur: Good to great. The worry I have about Aubameyang is that he seems to be at his best when running on to the ball in a quick counterattack as opposed to seeking out pockets of space created by Andre Villas-Boas's high line system. That said, Aubameyang has shown himself to be supremely adaptable, so there's a good chance he learns to work with less space in front of him.
Possibility he ends up at Spurs: Not all that rosy, given last summer's botched approach and PEA's affection for BVB and Milan. That said, for the right money, he'd probably come around.
Grade if this transfer goes through at likely price: A+. In terms of value for money, there isn't a better striking option for Tottenham Hotspur this summer than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Given his goalscoring prowess, passing ability and positional flexibility, Daniel Levy should buy Aubameyang right. effing. now.
I am an idiot and confused appearances for goals while researching this article, suggesting Aubameyang had scored 38 in the 2011-2012 season and 37 in the 2012-2013 season. Aubameyang actually scored 21 goals in all competitions (including for Gabon the African Cup of Nations) and 21 goals in all competitions in the 2013-2013 season, which includes the Coupe de France. My deepest apologies.