The Gabon striker has pledged to “give everything” to the Blaugranas cause as they chase a top-four La Liga finish and Europa League glory
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has explained why he took a pay cut to join Barcelona while opening up on potentially facing competition from Erling Haaland next season and Mikel Arteta wishing him luck following his Arsenal exit.
Aubameyang moved to Barcelona on a free transfer after terminating his contract at Arsenal by mutual consent at the end of January.
The 32-year-old spent the last two months of his Gunners career on the sidelines after a disciplinary breach, and accepted a significant drop in earnings in order to seal his escape to Camp Nou.
Aubameyang, who agreed a three-and-a-half-year deal at Barca, says the opportunity to join the Catalan giants was too good to turn down.
Financial gain never came into the strikers thinking, as he told Mundo Deportivo: “I really wanted to go to Barca.
“I gave up my salary because it is an opportunity that you have once in your life.”
After two cameo appearances from the bench, Aubameyang was handed his first start for the Blaugrana away at Valencia on Sunday, and he scored a stunning treble to help Xavis side earn a 4-1 victory.
The Gabon international is now looking ahead to the second leg of Barcas Europa League round of 32 tie against Napoli and has pledged to keep giving his all for the collective cause.
“We are going to give everything and, personally, I am going to continue working as I have done since I arrived,” he said.
“I want to win games and I want to win the Europa League, so if we want to win it, we have to win this game.”
Pressed on what longer-term goals he hopes to reach at Barca, Aubameyang replied: “Win the league and the Champions League here.”
Aubameyang may have a fight on his hands to stay in Xavis starting XI if Barca are able to secure a deal for Borussia Dortmunds Haaland in the summer.
The former Arsenal captain, who previously played for BVB between 2013 and 2018, says he is still in touch with his former team-mates at Westfalenstadion and they have told him all about Haalands talents.
Aubameyang says he would embrace the extra competition at Barca, as he added: “I still have friends there and what they tell me is that he is a player who wants to win, who wants to compete a lot.
“I think hes excellent, that he scores so many goals at his age, its incredible.He is one of the best.
“If he comes, we will compete together. Competition is good and even more so at Barca, who need the best in the world.”
Aubameyang has claimed that Arteta had a personal problem with him that ultimately led to his departure from Emirates Stadium.
The Arsenal boss has denied the accusation and insisted that it was in the clubs best interests to move on without the forward, but they did still manage to part ways amicably.
Asked whether Arteta wished him well at Barca, Aubameyang confirmed: “Yes, yes.”
He went on to reveal that Artetas tactical approach is mirrored in some ways by Xavis at Camp Nou.
“Some of the things we did with Arteta are similar,” said Aubameyang.”I still have to get used to it but I am eager to learn.
“When I see how the boys play I want to do the same.”