How AC Milan let go of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang when he was 22
Many clubs have regretted letting go of youth players who did not quite make the cut at a young age but blossomed into world class players in their mid-20s. One such player is Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The 26-year-old was let go by AC Milan in 2011 without having made a single appearance for the senior team. The Gabon international had impressed with Milan’s youth team but failed to get a look-in and his former agent Yvan Le Mee explained why he left the Serie A club.
“Someone said that Aubameyang was a boy who had square feet and didn’t have technical qualities,” Le Mee said, according to Le 10 Sport.
“He finished the Under-17 Club World Cup with Milan as top scorer, scoring five goals in six games.
“We realised that he wasn’t playing in the Milan Primavera team because the Rossoneri coach preferred Italian players, leaving Aubameyang on the bench.”
That was when Aubameyang decided it was time to leave and eventually had his request granted when he was sent out on loan to French club Dijon.
“At that time, we got in touch with Dijon over a transfer. After pushing really hard for six months, Milan eventually accepted a loan offer from Dijon.
“And at Dijon, he scored eight goals and provided six more at the tender age of 19. How many players of that age have achieved that?”
After a few loan spells at Lille, Monaco and Saint-Etienne, Aubameyang eventually moved to the latter on a permanent deal before moving to Dortmund in 2013.
Aubameyang one of the best in the world: Le Mee
Dortmund are currently second in the Bundesliga behind Bayern Munich despite having their best season in the club’s history so far with 64 points from 27 games. And a huge amount of credit goes to Aubameyang who has scored 35 goals in all competitions so far for Die Borussen.
He is currently three goals behind Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski in the league’s goalscoring charts. He is also one of the fastest players in world football at the moment.
“Right now, Aubameyang is the fifth-best attacker in the world for me,” Le Mee continued.
“Only [Lionel] Messi, [Luis] Suarez, Neymar and [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic are better than him. He is better than [Robert] Lewandowski and [Sergio] Aguero.”
“He is a good person, someone who works really hard. Plus he has always had his technical skills,” he added.
“He got where he is now because of his hard work. But you don't reach this level without being very talented.”