One of Jurgen Klopp’s signings during the summer transfer window of 2013, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a Gabonese international who can operate as a winger or an out-and-out striker.
The 24-year old was signed from French club Saint Etienne and is renowned mostly for his speed and dribbling ability along with an eye for goal.
Let’s take a look at what this talented youngster brings to Borussia Dortmund.
He is a forward with the ability to operate either on the wings or as the main striker. At Dortmund, he has been used mostly as a right-winger who is given the freedom to cut in and get into shooting positions.
He can operate on the left as well but Dortmund have the extremely talented Marco Reus to play on the left.
However, given that current first-choice striker Robert Lewandowski will leave the club at the end of the season (his contract expires and he has made it clear he won’t sign an extension), Klopp could use Aubameyang as a striker next season despite the fact that he has done well down the right wing so far.
In Reus, Aubameyang and Blaszczykowski, Dortmund have three pacy wingers who suit their fast-moving, counter-attacking style of play. When Aubameyang plays on the right wing, he offers something different to Blaszczykowski. The Pole winger prefers to use the spaces out wide whereas Aubameyang likes to move into more central areas and have a shot every now and then.
Arguably his biggest strength is his speed; he can cover a distance of 30 metres in 3.7 seconds, which is actually faster than the world’s fastest man Usian Bolt. Jurgen Klopp described his speed as a “fierce quality” following his hat-trick against Augsburg on his Bundesliga debut.
However, Aubameyang isn’t one of those footballers who relies solely on his speed. He’s very strong technically and is extremely comfortable on the ball. He usually takes his time before blasting past a player with an explosion of pace.
For someone who plays out wide more often than not, his crossing can be a little wayward. Granted he’s more of a forward than a traditional winger, but there will be times when he won’t be able to cut in and drive past defenders and/or shoot.
His finishing is also something he can work on, although it seems to be improving already. He scored 21 goals in 44 appearances last season but has said he wants to become a player who can regularly score 40-odd goals per season.
While he’s not the finished product at the moment, there’s no denying the fact that he’s a talented player and has the potential to be a top-class footballer.
His versatility means he can be used almost anywhere in the attacking third and his speed, natural ability and goal-scoring prowess means he is always a threat.
Dortmund have a very good player in their hands and it’s almost mouth-watering to imagine the kind of play one can expect from players like him, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marco Reus.