Borussia Dortmund recently secured the signing of Saint-Etienne striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The reported Newcastle and Anzhi Makhachkala target signed for the German giants in a contract that lasts until 2018.
The Gabon-born hit man found himself a new lease of life with the Ligue 1 side, after failing to assert himself in the AC Milan squad. After a successful two full seasons, Aubameyang has made the step up to the Champions League runners-up.
Appearances – 36(1)
Goals/Assists – 19/9
Shots Per Game – 3.70
Shot Accuracy – 53.3%
Conversion Rate – 13.9%
Key Passes Per Game – 1.03
Big Chances Created – 10
Not bad, right?
As impressive as those statistics are, PEA cannot be judged solely on previous statistics. He needs to hit the ground running and produce the goods for Die Schwarzgelbenr. With Lewandowski leaving at the end of next season, Aubameyang can use the 2013-14 season to adjust to his new surroundings and stake a claim that he is capable of replacing his Polish compatriot, when the time is right.
The stats that most people judge strikers for are impressive for Aubameyang. 19 goals in 37 Ligue 1 appearances is an excellent feat for the Gabon forward, after only spending two full seasons in France. His goals per game ratio is impressive, and one that many hope he can continue for Dortmund. He can ease the burden on Lewandowski, Reus, and Mkhitaryan for goals next term, providing excellent competition and added fire power.
Any worries over Gotze’s exit have been quashed with Dortmund’s new look strike force, with Aubameyang likely to be spearheading Dortmund for seasons to come.
However, Aubameyang offers far more than goals for Borussia Dortmund. Despite finding the net 19 times, PEA also assisted 9 goals for St. Etienne, something Jürgen Klopp would have been extremely pleased by, when targeting his man. It’s an achievement when a club can have a centre-forward capable of contributing goals and assists. Aubameyang is more than capable of that and provides a playful presence in Dortmund’s slick attacks, involving at least four or more players in each burst.
In terms of creativity and mobility, Aubameyang provides slightly more in that aspect of his game than a certain Robert Lewandowksi does. Under the influence of Klopp, Aubameyang has the capabilities to thrive.
Another attribute Aubameyang possesses is pace, something he has in abundance. Recently, Aubameyang is believed to have recorded a time over a 30-metre sprint which beats the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt. If it’s true, that is insane. Whilst being a bizarre feat, it suits Dortmund’s pace and play like a glove.
Pace bursts down the flanks from Reus/Blazsczykowski in as minimal passes possible on the break was an idolised feature of Dortmund’s eye-catching play. Aubameyang will require little adaptation and should slot in without any hassle with his new team, something Klopp would have been considering when recruiting the Gabon striker.
It’s not over. Aubameyang’s versatility will prove an integral aspect of his own game and to Dortmund’s set up. Naturally, Aubameyang thrives through the centre. Playing him as the striker is when he will produce the goods. However, he has been deployed on both flanks, with his pace making him settle without too many problems.
In the handful of appearances he made at AC Milan, Aubameyang was given time on the wings. It’s not his natural position, but he can fill the void if required out wide. Consider his versatility useful, as Klopp will love the ability to field a player elsewhere, if required.
Here’s what Michael Zorc (Dortmund’s Sporting Director) had to say on securing Aubameyang.
“We are very pleased that in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang we were able to sign a player we really wanted. He is offensively very versatile, has a lot of pace in his game, is a threat in front of goal and will provide us with more options.”
I for one feel that over time, Aubameyang will be a success at the Westfalenstadion. Potentially a shrewd signing, I believe Aubameyang will prove what other European clubs have missed out on and show that he has what it takes to replace Robert Lewandowski.