Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says it “hurts” to leave Arsenal “without a real goodbye” after he left the club by mutual consent ahead of his move to Barcelona on a free transfer.
Aubameyang trained with his new Barcelona team-mates on Tuesday after agreeing to a dramatic Deadline Day move to the Spanish giants from the Gunners.
An Arsenal statement on Tuesday night confirmed Aubameyang’s exit: “We wish Auba all the best for the next chapter in his career and thank him for his contribution to the club.”
Later on Tuesday evening, Aubameyang posted a goodbye message on social media: “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.
Arsenal were willing to allow Aubameyang to leave after stripping him of the captaincy in December following a disciplinary issue.
Aubameyang has not played for Arsenal since December 6, and was left out of their squad for their warm-weather training camp in Dubai.
Aubameyang, who scored 92 goals in 163 games for the Gunners and won the FA Cup in 2020, leaves the Emirates with 18 months left of his contract worth £350,000 a week.
The Premier League club are estimated to be making a saving of around £25m in wages with Aubameyang’s departure. But his exit means Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will finish the season with just two recognised strikers in his squad, with both Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette out of contract in the summer.
The deal for Aubameyang to join the Catalan side had looked off earlier on Deadline Day after talks broke down over the financial part of the deal.
But it is understood that Aubameyang took a significant pay cut to facilitate the move.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Barcelona president Joan Laporta said the club hoped to unveil the Gabon captain this week, along with fellow new signing Adama Traore, who re-joined the club from Wolves.
Laporta said, “We will present Adama Traore tomorrow and, if everything continues well, we will also present Aubameyang.”