Barcelona on Wednesday announced they had signed Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang until June 2025 as a free agent.
“It’s Auba time!” declared the club in a tweet which included a video of Aubameyang declaring “I’m here Barcelona fans! Forza Barca!”
“The player will sign a contract until June 30, 2025, with an option to agree departure on June 30, 2023,” said the club on their web site, adding that the deal for the 32-year-old included a 100 million euros ($113 million) buyout clause.
“Aubameyang is a remarkably fast striker and has an eye for goal, having racked up over 300 as a professional. His powerful but accurate shooting have made him one of the most feared goal-getters in the European game,” said the statement.
His previous club, Arsenal, on Tuesday released Aubameyang. That cleared the way for the striker, who was already in Spain, to sign for Barcelona as a free agent outside the transfer window which closed on Monday night.
Aubameyang is believed to have taken a significant cut on his Arsenal wage, which started at around 300,000 euros ($337,000) a week.
Barca continue to be hampered by enormous debts, which amount to more than a billion euros.
They sit fifth in La Liga, a point behind Atletico Madrid, who they play at home on Sunday, when Aubameyang could make his debut.
Aubameyang joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund on the last day of the 2018 January transfer window for a reported 56 million pounds, a club record at the time. In almost exactly four years at the club, he appeared in 165 competitive games and scored 92 goals
But his form had dipped rapidly since signing a three-year contract that reportedly made him the Premier League’s highest earner at the time in September 2020.
Aubameyang was dropped for a north London derby last season for arriving late for a team meeting and was stripped of the captaincy in December for what Arsenal described as “his latest disciplinary breach”.
In January, Aubameyang was part of the Gabon squad at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon but missed the first two games with coronavirus before being sent homme after team medical staff said they had detected “cardiac lesions”.
The British Press Association reported that Arsenal delayed announcing Aubameyang’s departure as a gesture of respect to Barcelona, whose president, Joan Laporta, said on Tuesday that the official unveiling may come later in the week