When FC Barcelona completed the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January, eyebrows were raised. They were signing an ageing, inconsistent forward who had more or less bombed his way out of his previous two clubs. Still, the Gabon forward offered pace in behind, was clinical in front of goal, and understood the opportunity he was receiving to go and play in Spain.
For some, though, previous comments of loyalty to Real Madrid added more questions than answers to the signing. Others also worried that the arrival of another problematic forward could cause disharmony in the dressing room. After all, the Catalans were already dealing with the Ousmane Dembele situation. Out of contract in the summer, the prodigious but frustrating Frenchman looked almost certain to leave.
Now, though, those worries – on both fronts – could not be more wrong. Dembele and Aubameyang have continued more or less where they left off in Borussia Dortmund. The duo combined to great effect in Germany, helping BVB to win the DFB Pokal and challenge for the league title.
Both players arrived in Spain to much fanfare, and with something to prove. Under new coach Xavi, they have definitely shown they were worth the effort. Both players were key to recent wins, including a 3-1 win against Celta de Vigo in the Camp Nou.
Memphis Depay might have opened the scoring – another player who fits the prolific-yet-problematic persona – but it was ‘Auba’ and Dembele who really shone. The Gabon striker scored a brace, and Dembele set one goal for the striker up whilst also diming in Depay for his goal.
Made in Germany, finished in Barcelona – can Aubameyang and Dembele keep it up?
So far since the turn of the year, both players have been essential for the upward momentum that Barca have enjoyed. Aubameyang has often spoke of Dembele as a little brother-like figure to him, and said that he hopes the player sticks around. The Gabonese has no intention of moving on this summer, and is keen for his friend and former teammate in Germany to also stick around.
Eleven goals in the league since arriving in January is testament to how well the forward has done. Dembele, though, has thirteen assists so far this season – seven of which have been for goals from the former Dortmund and Arsenal man.
The players combined for thirteen goals in the 2016-17 season in German, and have already shown they can combine in Spain. With talk that Barcelona will find an agreement with Dembele to avoid him walking out of the door for nothing, coach Xavi could benefit from the agreement.
Both players have a natural connection, and have worked together in a very fluid and upbeat manner. If the Catalans can convince their star wing asset to stick around, they could have a forward partnership that is certain to bloom for years to come. With others like Depay and Ferran Torres to support, too, Barcelona could already have the next great attack of La Lia on its books.