Rio Ferdinand explains reason Aubameyang exit was good for Arsenal despite Barcelona form

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Manchester United hero Rio Ferdinand believes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s Arsenal departure was good for the Gunners, despite the fact the forward has been prolific for his new club Barcelona. Aubameyang left Arsenal at the end of January following a torrid few months in north London.

Arsenal shelled out £56million to sign the Gabon international from Borussia Dortmund in 2018.

And he hit the ground running in the capital as he bagged 10 goals in his first 13 Premier League matches.

Aubameyang went on to fire in a staggering 60 goals during his first two full seasons at Arsenal and was rewarded with a lucrative new contract in 2020 after helping the Gunners win the FA Cup.

But he subsequently suffered a precipitous drop in form before feeling the wrath of Mikel Arteta following a disciplinary breach earlier this season.

Arteta stripped Aubameyang of the Arsenal captaincy in December and banished him from the team before he jetted off for the Africa Cup of Nations at the start of the year.

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And the star never played another game for the Gunners following the Spaniard’s decision as the club allowed him to terminate his contract early to link-up with the Catalan giants.

The 32-year-old has hit the ground running in Spain and has notched five goals in his first six games for the club.

But Ferdinand still thinks Arsenal are in a better position after allowing the player to leave.

“I just feel he looks happy again,” Ferdinand told his Vibe with FIVE YouTube channel.

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“I saw him at Arsenal for a number of months where he just didn’t look happy.

“People undervalue and underestimate how important your happiness is when you’re a footballer, or any job.

“You’ve got to have that element of happiness and fulfilment and he just wasn’t having that at Arsenal.

“Both have benefited from him leaving. Arteta has got even more of a stranglehold on the squad, more respect – they know where they stand now.

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“There’s a line that they don’t go beyond – we don’t know the details of that.

“Nobody has doubted the rate at which he’s always scored goals in his career.

“There’s obviously something that’s gone on behind the scenes where Mikel Arteta has said, ‘I’m not having that, you’re going to have to go.’

“It’s worked out for each other. If Arsenal finish fourth Arteta is totally justified in what he’s done.”

Since Aubameyang’s departure, Arsenal have won all three of the matches they have played.

And they are now just two points behind fourth-placed Manchester United in the Premier League table with three games in hand.

So Arteta’s decision to offload the ace could well be vindicated in the coming months.

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