Mikel Arteta's decision to let go of the striker, who earned £350,000-a-week at the Emirates Stadium, has drawn mixed reactions. Some reports have confirmed that the Gunners not only terminated his contract but also agreed to cover his fees until the summer.
Agbonlahor recently told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley:
“Arteta was never going to play him for the club again. It would have been a tragedy if he had stayed because Arsenal would have been paying him £350,000-a-week and he was never going to play."
“It works for the club and it works for Aubameyang. He’s probably sick and tired of training on his own and now he gets to go to the best club in the world, for me, and play under Xavi."
Speaking about the new chapter in Aubameyang's career, the 35-year-old said:
“There’s talk of him taking a pay cut to go there, maybe it went down to £200,000-a-week or £250,000-a-week. You’ve got to give credit to Aubemeyang for going and having the hunger to play. Other players would have stayed at the club for the next few months."
Agbonlahor further admitted that Aubameyang was indeed "treated badly" at Arsenal and is happy to see him get a "fresh start."
“He’s got a fresh start now," he said. "He’s at an iconic club. I’m happy for him to get that move. Players can get treated badly and this is a case where he was treated badly.”
What really happened between Arsenal and Aubameyang
The Gabon striker had a fruitful few years after joining the club in January 2018. He hit his peak for the club when the Gunners switched Unai Emery for Mikel Arteta as head coach.
Aubameyang's brilliant performances led to the club offering him a mega contract and the captaincy armband in north London. However, a drastic drop in form followed and the experienced forward lost his touch in front of goal.
His problems were compounded by repeated disciplinary issues. It ultimately led to Arteta stripping him off the captaincy armband in December 2021. The 32-year-old was also banished from the first-team squad and did not play for the club after that.
With the player's contract extending until the summer of 2023, it presented a problem for Arsenal. Barcelona came knocking but the poor financial situation of the Catalans almost led to the deal collapsing.
In order to facilitate his exit, Arteta agreed to mutually terminate his deal, allowing the player to join Barcelona as a free agent.
A section of Arsenal fans were unhappy with reports stating that Arsenal agreed to pay Aubameyang until the summer, despite losing the player in January. Moreover, the club did not sign a back-up forward, leaving the Gunners in a precarious situation for the next few months.