WILL HE BE SWAPPED FOR GIROUD?
In every transfer window there are lots of rumors about player swaps. In the end, most of these rumors remain unfulfilled since player swaps are a rare thing to happen. The more surprising it is, that Arsenal is aiming to complete two player swaps in this transfer window, in which four high-quality players are involved. They have already swapped Alexis Sánchez with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and are now targeting to sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and send Olivier Giroud to Borussia Dortmund. A great reason for Footballelixir to illuminate the qualities of both players and look at their development over the past few years. Let us start with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang:
Aubameyang is a world-class strikerWow, look at that development chart! After a slower start at Monaco in 10-11 (in which he was still way above average), Aubameyang soared to the level of world-class strikers like Cavani and Lewandowski in the following years. He has not only had a level of above 90 in one season, which would be quite exceptional for itself, but he also was able to maintain that level over multiple seasons. These ratings clearly show, that Aubameyang is an absolute world-class striker. His main contribution thereby derives from expected goals, in the last three seasons he reached 0.87 expected goals per 90 minutes. This kind of offensive contribution is off-the-charts! If he is going to play 40 games over the course of a season, you can assume that he will reach about 35 expected goals. These numbers could easily be converted in 35 goals, with the possibility of reaching 40-45 goals. In addition to his scoring, Aubameyang shows a very high quality in other areas of the game. His possession control is quite decent for a striker, but his level of consistency is even more impressive. He played over 4000 minutes in four of the last five seasons. In the current ongoing season, he has already played over 2000 minutes. However, because of him missing an important team meeting at Dortmund, he was suspended for two games after the Bundesliga winter break, which leads to Aubameyang having almost no match practice right now. This is the reason why his current rating is only at 88. When he will return to play more matches, his rating will rise back up to 92-95.
Giroud to Dortmund?Dortmund is said to accept a transfer sum of 70 million Euro for Aubameyang. In addition to that sum, there were rumors that Dortmund tries to onboard Arsenal’s striker Olivier Giroud. This seems not so unlikely, since Giroud would barely see any playing time with Aubameyang joining Arsenal and Dortmund would be in desperate need of a replacement. Let us look at how far Giroud could replace Aubameyang:
Giroud is better than you might expectGiroud started off in Montpellier, where he was a part of the title-winning team in season 11-12. After his move to Arsenal before the start of 12-13, he has proven to be capable of continuing his strong showings of 11-12 and advanced to be a world-class striker for the next four seasons. His performances peaked in 14-15 and 15-16, where he reached a rating around 90. Nevertheless, his rating decreased to 82 in the last season and he has achieved the same level so far in the current season. I can only speculate on the reason for this decline, but it was probably caused by the combination of a disappointing European Championship Final loss with France and injury trouble early in 16-17, that kept him out of finding his usual rhythm. Talking about the current season 17-18, Giroud has not seen much playing time after the signing of Alexandre Lacazette. His statistics are mainly coming from the Europa League, where he played every match over the full 90 minutes.
Comparing him to Aubameyang, Giroud’s contribution is more diversified. He reached 0.5 expected goals per 90 minutes over the last four seasons, which is actually very good, but still way less than Aubameyang’s 0.87. Adding to that, his possession control is less valuable than Aubameyang’s and he plays less minutes as well. Nevertheless, the statistics show that Giroud is more of a team player, his contribution concerning passes and defense is very high for a central striker.
CompetitorsHaving analyzed Aubameyang and Giroud, let us see how they would actually match up against the other candidates who could play as central strikers for Dortmund and Arsenal. The competitors of Aubameyang would be Lacazette and Welbeck, competitors of Giroud would be Isak and Schürrle. When you look at the ratings, keep in mind that the ratings for both Aubameyang and Giroud are lower than they could be, because they don’t have much match practice right now. If they start to play more matches, you can easily add three points to the ratings of both players.
To keep it short: Both players would enhance the quality on the central striker position if they switch clubs. Even though Lacazette is world-class, Aubameyang’s statistics are slightly better, so playing with Aubameyang instead of Lacazette would not hurt Arsenal. However, having two world-class strikers in your team, it would be a waste to bench one of them. Therefore, I think Arsenal will establish a formation with two strikers. Danny Welbeck is a decent striker as well, so he could replace either Aubameyang or Lacazette if one of them is not able to play. Speaking about Dortmund, Giroud is definitely better than young striker Alexander Isak. Comparing him to Schürrle, who plays the central striker role on a unregular basis, Giroud should still be the better choice. Schürrle is not as bad as he is said to be, but he is very inconsistent as his stats shift from world-class to mediocre during the past few seasons.
Wrap-upLooking only at the statistics of Aubameyang, Dortmund should do anything to keep him at the club. His expected goals value per 90 minutes is off the charts for the last four seasons and is only matched by Edinson Cavani and Robert Lewandowski. Additionally, his decent possession control and his ability to play many matches during a season make him an absolute world-class player who will be tough to replace. That being said, if he does not want to continue to play for Dortmund and they do not like his current attitude towards the club, a swap with Giroud would not be a bad idea, since Dortmund would be in need of a quality-striker and Giroud would assumably like to play more matches. But even with the addition of Giroud, Dortmund would still have to compensate a loss of 0.37 expected goals per 90 minutes, which would equal an amount of 12 goals less per Bundesliga season. The people that like that the most are probably the ones sitting in the management of RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich, since it will decrease Dortmund’s overall quality. Looking at the other side, this will be a great signing for Arsenal. Their offensive lineup would consist of Özil, Mkhitaryan, Lacazette and Aubameyang which would be one of the best offensive lineups in the world and could make them a strong title contender in the next Premier League season.