Pierre Aubameyang: Why The Free-Scoring Striker Would light Up Tottenham Hotspur...
Today, Aubameyang is one of the best strikers of the French league but his career has followed a meandering path. Everything started in western France in Laval where he was born in 1989 in a football mad family. His father, Pierre, was a Gabonese international who played most of his career in France. His older brother, Catilina, is also a professional football player in Europe and so is his other brother Willy.
In such an environment, he had no choice but to play football. Following the various moves of his father’s nomadic career, the young Pierre-Emerick played for many youth teams: Laval, Toulouse, Nice, Rouen and even in Colombia during one season. At the time his father retired from a playing career and took up a scouting position for AC Milan, the youngest of the siblings was playing for SC Bastia. His father promised he would bring him to Milan if he scored at least 6 goals for the Corsican club. At the end of the year he duly came to Italy, presented as an extremely fast forward.
He signed his first professional contract with the Rossoneri in 2007 and caught the eye of numerous scouts during the Champions Youth Cup, in which he won the top scorer award, netting all his team’s goals (seven in six games).
There followed a series of loan deals to allow him some playing time that the flagship team could not offer him. He joined Dijon in 2008, then playing in Ligue 2, and enjoyed a fine time in Burgundy, where he scored 10 goals in 39 games. It was also during this period that he decided to dedicate his international career to Gabon ahead of France.
The following year, he went to Ligue 1 and the Europa League with Lille, enjoying 24 games at the top level. Nonetheless, it was not enough for the club’s board and they decided not to hold on to him. The next loan deal was sealed with the AS Monaco, where he managed a similar stats sheet with 23 games under his belt. Unfortunately, a managerial change meant he would not be kept under the red and white shirt after 18 months on loan. He was subsequently offered to AS Saint-Étienne in January 2011.
This proved to be the right move. During his 18 months loan here, he has proven to most that he was worthy of a regular spot in an ambitious team. So much that he was offered a firm contract by the club six months before the due date for the end of his loan. He ended his first full season in a green jersey with 16 goals scored in 36 games, the best tally in Saint-Étienne for thirty years.
Furthermore, Aubameyang has shown that he is more than the guy pushing the ball over the line: he also finished the 2011-2012 season as the best assist provider for his club.
In parallel, his international impact grew as well. He took part with the Gabonese team to the Africa Cup of Nations played at home in 2012 but, sadly, he was the penalty taker who eliminated his country against Mali in the quarter final. Then this summer he had his share of Olympic spirit when he played in the London tournament.
The season in progress should confirm his talent. With 21 goals in 44 games, we can say that he is no flash in the pan. It is even more striking when you know that he has been repositioned on the right wing for many games to give room to the clumsy Brazilian giant Brandão in the centre-forward position.
His speed cannot be denied as a serious threat to any defence. His dribbling qualities and efficiency in front of goal make Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a true modern striker. He has a promise from his bosses that if a decent offer arises next summer, he would be free to leave. What they consider decent for their African gem is something approaching £10M. If Tottenham want him, they will have to act fast: Manchester United and Manchester City have shown also an interest.