Bacary Sagna has pleaded with Arsenal to learn from their past mistakes and pay whatever it takes to secure the long-term future of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The club’s record signing has represented outstanding value for money since his £56million move from Borussia Dortmund two years ago.
Aubameyang shared last season’s Premier League Golden Boot with Liverpool forwards Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah and is only two behind this term’s leading goalscorer Jamie Vardy, registering 17 goals for an Arsenal side currently marooned in mid-table.
The 30-year-old has just over a year remaining on his current deal, however, and although publicly he has maintained he remains happy in north London he is beginning to attract the reported interest of Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Arsenal were forced to sell former captain Robin van Persie for a cut-price £24million in similar circumstances during Sagna’s time with the club and the former Gunners right-back fears his old side cannot afford a repeat scenario.
‘He can’t go now because Arsenal are on the way to building something strong,’ Sagna told Goal. ‘They can’t afford to lose him. If they have to pay him, then just pay him because if they want someone else of his quality they cost £150m.
‘So don’t spend this £150m, just spend £50m and give it to him. It’s the same as van Persie and I think you have to learn from that situation. ‘Auba deserves it. I’m not saying that because of his name or because he has scored a few goals. He’s the best striker in the league.
‘He is a machine, he has scored many goals for the team. If you want to build something, it has to be around him.
‘Giving him the armband gave him some confidence. He is the captain, which means they want him to lead.
‘Of course there are other ways of spending money, but I would rather pay him than trying to find a solution with him than losing him and then wasting time trying with someone else, and finding someone else now is very, very difficult. ‘It’s like playing chess. You have to be smart. He deserves it, just give it to him.’