Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says leaving Arsenal without proper goodbye 'hurts'

Gabon striker expected to sign with Barcelona as a free agent after ending four-year stay at Emirates Stadium

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left Arsenal as a free agent before Monday's transfer deadline. PA
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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says not being able to say a proper goodbye to Arsenal fans "hurts" as he waits to finalise his move to Spanish club Barcelona.

The 32-year-old former Gunners captain was pictured training with his prospective new teammates after arriving in Spain on Monday before the transfer deadline.

However, no agreement was reached as deadline day passed but Aubameyang is now a free agent after being released from his reported £250,000-a-week basic salary at the Emirates Stadium, meaning he can join the Catalan giants outside of the transfer window.

Prior to the completion of his move to the Camp Nou, Aubameyang took to social media on Tuesday night to post a farewell message to the club he joined in 2018 for £56 million ($75 million) from Borussia Dortmund.

In a post on Instagram, Aubameyang wrote: “To the Arsenal fans, Thank you for making London home for myself and my family for the past four years. 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 per cent 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!”

The Gabon international returned home early from the Africa Cup of Nations due to health reasons but has not played for Arsenal since being disciplined by the club in December.

He had been linked with a loan move this January, with Barcelona among a number of European clubs who had shown an interest, as well as teams based in the Middle East.

During his four-year stint at Arsenal, Aubameyang scored 92 goals in 163 appearances and helped the club win the 2019 FA Cup as well as reach the finals of both the League Cup and Europa League.

Barca's financial situation means it may still be some days before they can register Aubameyang. Several first-team regulars have agreed to wage deferrals so the club can register new players and comply with La Liga spending rules.

Last month, defender Samuel Umiti agreed a salary cut so that the Catalans could sign Ferran Torres from Manchester City.

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Updated: February 02, 2022, 5:59 AM